Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Broccoli


I miss the shops
in low rent buildings
whose owners ran into the street
as the ceilings fell inside
or sheltered under counters
as parapets tumbled into the street
or sometimes made the wrong choices
I miss the corner dairies
with their buckets of flowers on the pavement
where you could buy what you needed –
a bottle of milk, a newspaper,
a lottery ticket, a box of matches
the little local bike shops selling tyres
and puncture repair kits
the second hand clothes shops
the bakeries, the stationers
with their birthday cards, magazines,
envelopes, the immigrant greengrocers
with white lettered windows advertising


In November I attempted a challenge to write a poem a day - many of them were written to prompts at the Writer's Digest Poetic Asides blog. As the aim is to produce a chapbook (by editing the poems and submitting them before the end of the year) I wanted a theme to my poems, and thought it would be a good chance to write earthquake poems and get the whole thing out of my system (as if!).

The prompt on one particular day was to take the name of a fruit or vegetable and use it as the title of the poem. When pondering how to write an earthquake poem about fruit or vegetables, this sprung to mind. A lament for all the demolished local shops.

I was a guest reader the other week at the Canterbury Poet's Collective. My writing buddy had said of this poem, that of course it wouldn't work read out loud as the last few lines are rather visual - but I had already figured out what to do about that. All it required was the words written on a large sheet of paper, and an assistant to hold it up at the appropriate moment.

For more Tuesday poems visit the main hub site here.


Gerry Snape said...

I love that's a lament from the heart for those days that have gone.

Elizabeth Welsh said...

The small things tenderly woven into poetry. I can feel your heart in these earthquake-themed poems that you post, Catherine. Thank you for sharing!

Keith Westwater said...

Look's like we are both 'quake era' writers (I wonder what that would get transcribed into on the greengrocer's window). The poem is great and I love your solution to reading the poem and showing the words. Thanks Catherine.

Jennifer Compton said...

love the brockley poem - and also vincent's rawleighs man - i am just old enough to remember a rawlighs man visiting - i think mum bought a bottle of rennet

Penelope said...

The word BROKLEY seems in itself a lament for all that was broken or lost; the familiar made unfamiliar.

The restraint you show makes the poem more powerful.