Monday, June 13, 2011

My Poetry Year: Entry #39

In which Your Humble Blogger almost begins her post by singing "I'm a little teacup, short and stout," but then realizes that (a) it ain't "teacup," and (B) she would rather be called "diminutive and well-built," thank you:

"The Joy of Making Dinner"

This measuring cup is fragile and small,
barely enough for a poet to call a vessel,
small, with one purpose.

This poet is damaged and small,
barely able to stir a pot for dinner,
small, with one purpose --

but so is the chipped teacup
that will touch your lips at dessert.

* * *

Devices like similes and metaphors depend on one idea or picture triggering thoughts of another. Some poets, especially if they're using similes, want the comparisons they're making to be obvious: "Attention! This is like this!" Other poets prefer to varying degrees to make the reader work to form the connection. Haiku, which has been a subject here so many times before, has a way of stating two seemingly disparate thoughts quite plainly and then letting a third line tie those thoughts together that fascinates me (if you haven't guessed by all the times I've written about haiku).

In this poem, which is decidedly not haiku, I tried to see if I could use similar sentence structure and repeated words in the first two stanzas to help make a comparison. What I was hoping with the third stanza was that its varied structure would suggest a sudden frankness in the speaker's attitude, as opposed to the shyness in the first two stanzas. Sad to say, I'm not sure that introducing the teacup worked! I would rather have found a way to tie the ending back to the measuring cup instead. Ah, well. There's another poem to come later that's similar in structure to this one but more effectively done, I think.

Side note: Most of my posts are usually typed up the morning I post them, but this one is being typed up late Sunday night. If it makes less sense than my usual posts, I'd like to use that as my excuse. ;p


  1. Love the structure, form, and imagery here.

  2. *blush and bow* Heh, thank you.

    The more I read out of the Asian traditions of poetry, the more I like their sensibilities and approaches to imagery. Even contemporary writers who work within that influence are awesome. Have you come across Li-Young Lee at all?

  3. Nope -- something I should pick up?

  4. *grin* That's a wicked question -- ask it too often, and I'll probably end up recommending half of the university's collection to you by the end of it all! Oh, sometimes I vicariously enjoy the fact that you have such ready access to books and other media.

    I've only come across him in anthologies so far in my experience, but man, he sure seems widely anthologized. What I've read in books was lovely enough to make me look for him online, as the TP Library doesn't seem to have any of his books. Here's one good page to start:

    If any of those poems intrigue you, a lot of the poems in anthologies seem to come from one of his books in particular, 'The City in Which I Love You.'