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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

the hard boiled egg

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It's poetry week. Every three weeks or so several of us meet with our poetry professor from college days for conversation, poetry work, and dinner, which our former professor - now mentor and friend - prepares and serves with grace. It's a pretty cool deal. Two women skype in from Boston and one from Tennessee. I'm still working on a draft of a poem for tomorrow. Meanwhile, below is one from 2005 BC ('Before Chickens' on the farm). In this case, the egg came first.

I find that some people are tormented if you ask them to read a poem. "Is it long?" they whine ask. If you're one of them, stop here, consider this a very short post, and maybe imagine what is in the drawer, above. If you're not one of them, or if you're willing not to be, read on. I think poems should open a little drawer in your head, or at least make you want to know what's in the drawer.

In the stanza about conversations, this was BB (Before Blogging). PB (Post Blogging), it's even more true, thanks to you.


The Hard Boiled Egg

As I peel my egg,
shell adheres
to the clear membrane
in chunks, like ice floes
on the surface of water.

Before I bite
the end, cool and round,
I know the felt-like yolk
will mix with the metallic white,

an aggregate flowing with
grains of pepper and salt
on the riverbed of my tongue.

Every day is a completeness
like this. Conversations
like embryos fresh
and awake for surprise.

Nakedness under a shell.
Nourishment begun
at my mother’s white table cloth
that spreads to the snow

fields around this farm peppered
with thistle crowns and bare
branches emerging from
under the mask of white
that curves around the world.
~
Ruth M., December 2005

51 comments:

Butler and Bagman said...

Fabulous poem from the ice flow metaphor which really grabbed me to the expansion at the end to the farm, fertility poking out of snow...which circled around so nicely .... fertility, egg...a really great poem, I think. Not just good. I may have to get back and look at some of my old stuff. I've been so much into prose blogging that poetry has taken a backseat.

kanmuri said...

I like the poem, I could almost taste the egg! I like the picture of the drawer, must be a beautiful piece of furniture.

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, B & B. I've been inspired by Montag (on my sidebar) lately, though I just don't have her flare. Well, we each have our own vision.

Have you considered a poem about throwing pants?

Ruth said...

Hi, Kanmuri, thanks. The chest we picked up in a second-hand store in Old Town because we couldn't resist it for our guest room in a previous house. The blue and yellow guest room was my favorite, and the favorite of our guests too.

Susan said...

I really like how your poem connects different phases of your life.

Life truly is a circle and with so much promise, much like an egg. I ate hard-boiled eggs yesterday for lunch and I savored every bite, thinking how perfect they tasted with the softness of the white and the slight chewiness of the yolk counterbalanced with the tang and crunch of the salt and pepper.

Blue and yellow is one of my favorite color combinations. I've had a B/Y kitchen, guest room, daughter's room (which was represented by blue sky and yellow sunflowers). We're two peas in a pod, Ruthie. :)

J and Z said...

lovely, ruth, just lovely...you have a way with words

Kayla said...

I love this poem. I am a poet myself. In fact you should check out my blog. I have changed what I am doing with it. I am taking old poetry and editing it. Maybe it would help you with your poetry conundrum. I love the way you wrote the poem. It is so simple, but very interesting to read. It really made me change the way I think of a hard boiled egg.

♥ Kathy said...

I loved that! Very cool :)

Loring Wirbel said...

A good balance of all five senses in a very sensual poem. The cadence mixes a little bit Rumi, a little bit W.S. Merwyn. Wonderful!

ds said...

Wonderful poem, Ruth. I like all the textures ("felt" for the yolk-perfect), the salt & pepper that are also the snow & thistles--so much going on. I envy you your poetry nights, they sound heavenly (is DW really your mentor--wow!!).
Now I have to go & look up "skype."
What else have you got in that beautiful drawer of yours?

Be one with the Fro said...

"Nakedness under a shell." That is a marvelous line! Your poem is great. That is such a great idea though...to meet up every 3 weeks to share poetry. I live near this coffee shop that has poetry readings every Saturday.

I wanna skype with ya'll hahaha I skype with one of my friends in Australia. Its a great feature.

Yes, I definitely throw Mr.Shakespeare out there when I have nothing else to say hahaha "To be or not to be"...that is not the question.

Oh yea, how do you slash through words?!?!?

Have a marvelous day, Ruth!

p.s. - great picture!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Now that is a great drawer!!

Ruth your poem is picture painting with words.. the images it creates are like a movie....

Barry said...

I read your poem and thought, OH!

Then I read it again and thought OH, OH!!

Then I read it again and thought, "This is very clever and very, very good."

I also like Gwen's comment about it being like a movie.

Hildegarde said...

I looked into the irresistable drawer, tasted the poem, it tasted good !!!, especially (for me) the part of the table cloth and of the thistles and branches in the snow. The conversations like embryos was a little shocking for me because it just came after the hard boiled egg, the egg in which, I know, wasn't an embryo, but spontaneously I think : egg - embryo - little chick. Of course English is only my third language, so not as naturally to understand as my mother tongue, that may also cause differences in understanding a poem. Anyway,don't take it as criticism, I'm just expressing my personal thoughts.

Anet said...

Felt-like yolk! I would of never thought of that, you are so clever:) Yolks are felty!!
I really enjoyed this poem...I'll pause before devouring a hard boiled egg from now on.

photowannabe said...

Beautiful word pictures Ruth. I could really taste and feel the egg.
Thanks for sharing it with us. I think its wonderful that your professor does dinner and friends can share a bond together.

rauf said...

Andaa (pronounced like undo, unda
not like Anna
Andaa is egg in urdu and hindi Ruth.

Sandy said...

Beautiful poem and gosh I love that image! I felt good reading this. What a fun gathering that would be.

Merging Point said...

Beauty, Ruth!

Connecting from senses to creation...you let me flow in that nakedness...

Ruth said...

Dear fellow pea, Susie Q! Eggs are perfect. I get lost in realizing what is there, Life. Did you know that just before chicks hatch they absorb nutrition from the yolk, which stays in their bodies and helps them survive without eating for a 1-2 days?

Ruth said...

Oh, and Susan, why aren't I surprised about blue & yellow?

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Jean.

Ruth said...

Dear Kayla, thank you very much.

You have chosen one of the hardest and best practices in writing: revision. I avoid it like I avoid cleaning. It is hard, but it is rewarding, if you can read your work objectively, as a reader would, and make your changes. Always use a metaphor, one of the absolute have-to-haves in a poem. How are two unlike things connected? Like in this egg poem, one of the connections is between an eggshell and snow, not something you would immediately think of except that they are both white. Anyway, you can see how I love to talk about poetry. Good thing I get to tonight with my friends!

Ruth said...

Ah, thank you, ♥ Kathy.

My daughter is flying to Texas today to be with her future in-laws for a wedding shower. I hope the weather is fine in Forth Worth, don't know which part you're in.

Ruth said...

Loring, bless you.

Ruth said...

Hi, DS, wow, you've heard of Wakoski? She's famous, but still not many know her.

Skyping is so great, we are 'with' our friends who are far away.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Tiffany! So now you can slash through words since my email, yes?

shicat said...

Hi Ruth, I have many favorite parts of this poem. I felt as if I was actually eating an egg. I agree with Gwen a picture of words. I love the line, nourishment begun at my mother's white table cloth that spreads to the snow ...love that.

The blue chest in the picture is great.

Funny thing, last night my husband came home and said that our college age son had mentioned he didn't have any money for dinner. Of course, being a mom, I called. "Did you eat anything for dinner?" son said, " I'm making egg salad,I have plenty of food,rice soup,green beans." Some of the groceries that I had given him a week earlier. Eggs and moms, moms and eggs:)

I still laugh at the birdie photos on the side of your blog. I can't decide which one is my favorite.Maybe Honey,but floozie looks kinda fun too.

Maybe my blog name should be chatty cathy.

Susan said...

I know. Kismet. :)

MAXIMUS said...

* Very nice poem
* Strictly Confidential: Femme Fatale
* What kind of breed is Ms/Mr Honey?

mystic rose said...

wow!

love the whole poe, the last verse especially.

Oliag said...

From egg to snow...so beautiful...I'm so jealous of your poetry nights...my life has been terribly void of intellectual soirees...not even a book club...

Ruth said...

Hi Gwen! Your movie makes me happy. And I am not surprised you like the drawer. If it were in your house, you would have been the one who painted it. :)

Ruth said...

Barry, sometimes a poem does that, and I'm glad this one did for you. Layers are a good thing.

Ruth said...

Dear Hildegarde, that makes sense! I can see how someone would be shocked by the close connection of those images.

Of course there is a little female part of the embryo in every egg, but it's not exactly like we're eating an embryo of a chick when we eat an egg. I don't take it as criticism at all.

Ruth said...

Anet, I hope you're feeling better.

It's fun to stop and contemplate the textures, isn't it? A good exercise for Noah!

Ruth said...

Hi, Sue. I'll be leaving in another hour for Diane's table, where she is serving frittata, salad and bread, and fruit and cheese for desert. We've been doing this for many years, and the table is sacred for its friendship.

Ruth said...

rauf, I think Urdu, and Andaa, are poetic. I would like to hear poetry read in Urdu.

Ruth said...

Aunty Sandy, sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's rather boring, but it is always something I look forward to.

Ruth said...

Welcome to you, Merging Point. I'm glad you felt beauty here.

Ruth said...

Cathy, how nice! :D I love it when you come here and chat. You always make me feel that the post has been worthwhile. You interact with it, and feel it.

Eggs and moms, and sons and eggs. Our son loves eggs too and cooks them. There is a primordial gift that men have to cook eggs.

Honey is a beaut. We have pics of Lesley and Don giving her a 'haircut' last May. Floozie is a snoop, can't be left out of anything.

Ruth said...

Susan, hope it never ends.

Ruth said...

MAXIMUS, my lips and typing fingers are sealed! Glad I was right.

Oh dear, Ms. Honey is a golden bearded Polish crested.

Ruth said...

Thank you, dear Mystic. :)

Ruth said...

Oliag, can you pull one together?

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, ILYA, I love your acronyms.

I also love cold HBE's, you allowed me to taste them, thanks.

Christina said...

I love that you shared the layers of poetry with us.

Love, love this.
xo
Approving finger snaps, for you

Ruth said...

Bob, you'd have loved my parents. They left acronym notes for each other. On cards they gave each other they wrote acronyms too, and they couldn't open the envelope until they had guessed what the acronym stood for.

Ruth said...

Hehe, thanks dear, Christina. :D

Pouty Lips said...

I want to learn to write poetry. I have no idea how to begin. I'm pretty sure after reading this that the egg came before the chicken.

Ruth said...

Pouty, maybe there is a writing group in your area?