This is an old memory. . . coping skill actually. How does it work in a poem?

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This is an old memory. . . coping skill actually. How does it work in a poem?

Post  Pat on Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:32 pm

I tried to stay with some repetition and showing bits and pieces of a dysfunctional family. Mine, of course. : )

Stirring the Gravy



From a room familiar as a nursery rhyme

an image holds: my Mother as she calls

to me, “Come on now. . .get up. . .

come stir the gravy. . . .”



Stirring the gravy distracts me

from the elephant in the living room

who drinks off and on during hard nights.

Stirring soothes and swirls away

the unpredictable yard apes I’d monkeyed

around with the evening before.



Angels guide me to stir gravy

and make no grand judgments

of the zoo keeper who comes and goes.

Stirring the gravy means one more chance

to set yesterday right. After all, when you

live inside a zoo, birdy words and scuffles

and tussels happen.



The gravy is a muddy lake

inside an iron skillet, a place to swim, ski,

stir, be more than an ordinary girl

holding tight to a jon-boat

heading for shore.



All is dream-like when I stir the gravy.

It is then and there that dysfunction

and love get lost and found—

in a sister’s talk, a mother’s face,

a brother’s grin, a father’s walk.

Pat

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Pat's GRAVY poem

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:07 pm

Pat, you got me with that last stanza... indeed, the last TWO stanzas. Very nice....

I like the birdy words line yet that stanza seems to muddy the (chocolate?) gravy. Can you tighten it up a bit and give more definition to the elephant, the drinker, etc? Is the drinker the father? I get the dysfunctional aspect of a young girl's life and the escape. Can you give us more about that stirrrr feeling?

I can't quite smell it. Wood stove?

Just a little more work... you certainally touched on a part of our secret lives. Dewell (When I was in grade eight I won the Virginia state spelling bee... you would never know it now!)

Dewell H. Byrd

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Strong image

Post  tsukany on Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:07 am

Pat...you have two strong (competing) images in the poem: nursery rhyme (which you abandon for the "zoo") and gravy. For me, gravy seems stronger. "My family is like gravy"...never heard THAT one before. What if you trim (pun intended) off all the zoo images and stir the gravy image?
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tsukany

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Thank you! I'm struggling to figure out what white gravy smells like. . .

Post  Pat on Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:04 pm

other than white gravy, but a wood stove is not so hard. . . . : ) And I needed to hear what you said about the zoo image. Helpful. Thank you, Pat

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