Thursday, October 12, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Breaking News

This week's prompt asked us to write poetry inspired by something in a newspaper or magazine - a headline, an article, an advertisement or whatever we chose.

At a workshop a few years back we were also asked to look through magazines for inspiration, so today I am posting the poem I wrote then. The triggers for this included an article on Japanese gardens and an advertisement for health supplements which included photographs of vegetables.

At the time I wrote it my daughter had just finished two years of English teaching in Korea and was visiting Mongolia before returning to New Zealand.

Sonnet

These grey days, I hunger for colour. I scavenge
in produce aisles, take home bags overflowing
with orange-skinned mandarins, broccoli, dark
as pines, purple grapes, tri-coloured capsicums.

I sip herbal tea and read your messages.
Mongolia's as hot as Korea, you say, but drier.
Everywhere is dusty. The vegetable soup is greasy
with mutton fat, and not much fibre in it.

You will pass through Osaka on your way home,
visit temples with gardens of pebbles
and carefully raked sand. By the time you return
the maples in our garden will be swelling with new buds.

The Japanese have a special name for it.
Shinryoku - the tender new green of spring.

More Poetry Thursday participants here

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Catherine, I felt homesick reading this and knew that you couldn't wait to be home where you would see all the familiar and be comforted..thanks for sharing.. M

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is lovely. I really enjoyed the pace, how you step through each detail just like walking through a garden. I would never have guessed magazine articles were the inspiration.

Deb R said...

This is fabulous, Catherine! I felt like I could see it all unfolding so clearly.

jzr said...

Very lovely poem. I'm there with you!! Beautiful language, word choices!

michelle said...

Beautiful poem. I especially love this part:

Mongolia's as hot as Korea, you say, but drier.
Everywhere is dusty. The vegetable soup is greasy

The juxtaposed images complement each other perfectly.

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Great poem. Perfect!

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful, nostalgic -- reminds me of The River Merchant's Wife (trans. by Pound), and my own Letter to a Friend in China.

Unknown said...

Absolutely beautiful! You have used detail like a fine artist on canvas and created a haunting, melancholy mood. Loved it.

mareymercy said...

I like this - especially the last six lines. Very descriptive, personal.

Tammy Brierly said...

Lovely poem and I felt you missing her :)

Emily said...

Beautiful poem. I really liked the first stanza and the expression of color. Lovely.

Kay Cooke said...

Lovely. The images are very tasty and colourful - love 'broccoli, dark as pines.'

twilightspider said...

I too love all the contrasts you use - the different colors, the dry vs. greasy, the pebbles and sand contrasted with the maple buds. Beautiful.

ren powell said...

This is a beautiful sonnet! I'll be checking back. . . thanks-