Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's The Small Things That Matter

Sometimes the smallest detail or yen can lead to inspiration for a poem. My partner and I were discussing what to prepare for Sunday’s meal. He favored clams and linguini but suggested we buy a sea or cocktail fork to properly dig out the meat. Well, finding such delicate utensils in the average market is near to impossible. Walmart or Target did not stock them. Maybe an antique shop or some specialty store beyond the town and more toward Los Angeles would. In real life, we used Yankee ingenuity and settled for corn skewers purchased at the  dollar only store.

However, the craving for these small forks made me think of Rapunzel’s mother craving the rampion, a more  fanciful or antique way of defining  the radish. But in this case, the gender is switched. The male species hungers for the exotic, the distant. So that became the start of the opening line. And the narrator, an agreeable and accommodating wife, searches the local antique shops to  find  item. She has no luck and comes home with a willow twig. Something that caught her eye in the forest while taking a short cut home through the woods  It is assumed she walked to the market place and resides in a village or rural area.
She explains it has a purpose just like those high end forks deigned by Oneida or Trudeau. Yet, it is more organic and was left with the holy lip stain of the forest sidhe/goddess/fairy. The stain suggesting it could be the milky sap of the willow tree, known for both its sacred and medicinal properties as well as the breath of the sylvan deity. Furthermore, she surmises this blessing could reset the table, their table. It could turn their hunger for the expansive, the outer world with its meticulous and materialistic treasures, to the interior landscape of nature and the spirit. Their lives could me drawn back to the wisdom and solidarity of “stone and wood”, the soft and baptismal intimacy of rain and firelight.  This concept is also reinforced in the poem’s middle stanza with the  phrase, shallow-handed. I used it because I love the sound and the idea it invokes, the thought of meaning a low stream as well as something barely full. In this piece,  the lack of fulfillment regarding an expectation or wish. Yet, in that void, there is richness, a higher awareness of meaning induced by dearth and substitution. The stripped down, bare-bones version often becomes the greater source of personal wealth and satisfaction.

In this fairytale,  the husband  has a craving.
You want steamed clams and linguini -- but your dearest wish
is to dig out each morsel with a sea fork.
Stainless steel or sterling
these trinkets elude the common shops
possessing a fine  magic
that heightens the palate.  And so
I searched my antique haunts, but now come home
shallow-handed, A damp twig
wrought of willow bark --  and found  
while taking the short cut through our woods.
Partially dug into cool moss cloaking the streambed,
it caught my eye.  Though shaped like the  flatware
by Oneida or Trudeau, it was organic
and had a holy lip stain
left by the forest sidhe.  Her blessing
could  reset the table. Our lives turned around --
called back  to stone and wood The intimacy
of rain and firelight.

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