Thursday, November 02, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Favourite Lines

I had better get this done before I go to bed, or it won't be Thursday any more. Or at least, it will for some of you, but not for me. I have been trying to be more productive lately, and started writing down approximately what I do each day and how long it takes. Seeing it in writing seems to help me to get more done. It also stops me from giving myself a hard time about not doing more at the weekend - I realised that on Sunday, by the time I've slept in, made something for lunch, done the lunch dishes, cooked dinner and done the dinner dishes there isn't much of Sunday left. And if I throw in some laundry and ironing...

The offspring each get one night a week to cook, and a couple of turns on dishes. But I get to do the dishes on the nights that no one wanted. That leaves me with all of Sunday - their excuses being that they are generally working on last minute assignments that have to be handed in the next day.

Somehow though, my inner brat rebelled at all the "write it down" efficiency and had a tantrum last night and today - hence the last minute post.

This week's prompt was to think about some of our favourite lines of poetry, and possibly let one of them be the inspiration for a poem of our own.

Well, the lines I like are generally ones that take me by surprise. The ones where I am jerked into a totally different viewpoint of things.

Lines like "the sun is warm like a blue oboe" (John Dickson), and another of his lines, "perhaps a patch of blue sky will lose its way", which I mentioned a few weeks earlier in my post on synaesthesia.

Or how about "One day when the planet was idly/pressing stegosaurs in her scrapbook.." (Sarah Lindsay - "Mount Clutter")

Then there is Laura Kasischke who started a poem "Dear Earth" with the line "This is a love note from the sky"

And Olena Kalytiak Davis whose poem "In Defense of Marriage" is full of wonderful lines:

"Marry the fenceless moon and the defenceless sky"
"her body from a bone/ and her soul out of nothing"

and the ending
"I married the way moths marry./ I married hard"

As for letting one of these inspire my own writing, well firstly as I said I've been lazy over the past couple of days. And secondly, I feel that these lines are too distinctive to use easily. Although perhaps the one about the blue sky, or the body from a bone?

I read an article about collage materials which described some images - certain papers or rubber stamps - as "strongly determined". In other words, when you try and incorporate them in a composition, they retain their distinctive character, which makes it hard to use them in a new and original way. I think my favourite lines of poetry are like that. They inspire me in a very indirect way - they provide me with rich examples of wonderful writing, but I don't try and use them directly. I'm more likely to jump off at a tangent - a poem which includes the word "dream" for example might set me thinking of a dream memory of my own which is totally different to the content of the poem.

So, no poem inspired by the prompt today. But I did want to include a poem, so here is one on a previous topic (food). I'm losing track of which poems I've posted already. I could I suppose check through my list of previous posts. But I'm not going to do that, I'll just take my chances. This sonnet inspired by eggs is part of a set of "Kitchen Sonnets" of which I'm pretty sure I've posted one other.

Kitchen Sonnets 1.

“Cream the butter and sugar”, as if by beating
hard enough we could reverse time,
return it to what it once was.
“Add the eggs”. Medieval painters
would grind their pigments for hours,
bind them with egg yolk, mix it with water.
It was Irina who told me this. How
the holy icons, the flowing robes, the shine
on the faces of the saints were built up
with layer on layer of thin transparent glaze.
I am thinking of her as I crack the shells
on the side of the bowl, let the yolks fall
like heavy haloes, one, two, three,
giving themselves up for the cake.


Suzan Abrams, email: said...

Hi Catherine,
Thank you so much for dropping by.
I was thinking, what beautiful taste you have in poetry, with such remarkable inspiring lines to show off with.
I so enjoyed this post & look forward to coming back for more.
best wishes

ren powell said...


I want to thank you for your posts. I've only been doing PT a couple of weeks, but I look forward now to yours especially.

Anonymous said...

Hi Catherine,

What a great poem. Did you make enough cake for us all?

Love the last two lines.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Catherine
Very interesting post - i think you definitely have a point in the most inspiring lines being just too distinctive to re-use.

I like your poem very much too.

Deb R said...

First of all, you chose some lovely lines to share. Secondly, I like your poem very much. The lines that danced in my head were "...let the yolks fall like heavy haloes, one, two, three, giving themselves up for the cake." Wonderful!!

twilightspider said...

I love that last line of the marriage poem, "I married the way moths marry./ I married hard" That just says so much to me.

I also loved your poem, like everyone, I really thought those last two lines have an amazing resonance.

kenju said...

YES! the last line is wonderful...."giving themselves up for the cake". I LOVE IT!

Michele sent me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Catherine, I love those lines you chose and the poem. Here's my little ditty called How a Poem is like Cake:

Don’t use a mix
or stale ingredients

Don’t look in the oven
too much when it’s cooking
or eat too much at one sitting

Don’t over-sweeten
or over-stir

A baker and a poet
are both concerned with flavor

It’s all about consistency
and knowing when it’s done

ps michele sent me.

carmilevy said...

Hi Catherine. Back from Michele's again.

You raise an interesting point: one about whether or not this may have been posted previously.

I often wrestle with that very issue: should I re-post things that I've already shared on my blog.

I think it makes sense to do so if you think the message will add value to your current readers. I recognize that not everybody will dig deep into the archives. So a little reminder every now and again isn't such a bad thing.

paris parfait said...

Some wonderful lines in this post. Nice musings too.