Three Things that Could be Poems

I wanted to write a poem so I started to think about a subject, a line, an object, a scene or metaphor that could be turned into verse.  In daily life there are so many things that we overlook.  As we walk through the world we miss the everyday poetry in the simple acts of mowing the lawn, buying groceries or just sitting and looking at the floor.

I encounter three things this week that my brain is trying to condense into poems.  There are feelings, images, and emotions that my poetic brain wants to convey to you.  In my mind there is this desire to understand the symbols and hidden lessons of the simple world around us.

Jumbled in my head are thoughts – I think of a stew just starting to cook.  Individual pieces float in cold water, but with time and heat they meld, merge and form a rich broth.

This week there are just pieces.  Ingredients of what could be.  That’s all I have this week.

Mowing the Lawn in the Desert

It was just after breakfast and before morning tea that I stepped out into the desert air.  Above the backyard rises a bare mountain.  It’s a desert mountain with a dusting of sage brush, a tree sprinkled here and there, on top of rocky sand.  The bones are rock that the wind flies over.  The air is still and I can smell the cold fragrance of pine and soil.  In the tree tops air moves whispering of the coming afternoon wind.

From the shed I pull out the lawn mower and preform the ritual, slide the fully charged battery in, place the bag over the chute and wheel it to the corner of the lawn.  The mower hums as I move it over the green.

A contrast.  Artificial and out of place in the barren landscape, but yet perfectly fitting the neat garden and contained within the concrete sidewalks.  Without human efforts the smell of fresh grass would not be possible.  We have shaped the world to our desires.  We live outside the intent of nature.  We attempt to control pieces while the mountains watch our efforts.

Rolling Bottle

I was standing at the cash register watching the checker scan my items: A bag of lettuce, a can of beans, a box of crackers … 

Once scanned she placed, threw, launched the carefully chosen items on a conveyor belt that led to the bagger who was furiously shoving things into bags.  The checker quickly placed a bottle on the belt.  The round bottle fell over and started to roll.  That’s when I noticed that the belt went slightly up hill and the bottle just spun in place.  Gravity pulling back towards the checker while the movement of the belt tried to move it towards the bagger.

A box of pasta was discarded by the checker onto the conveyor.  Moving up hill, I watched and wondered if the box would push the bottle to the bagger or would the rolling bottle push the box back to the checker.

In this drama, the box touched the bottle and stopped its spinning allowing the belt to push both up hill to the waiting bag.

How many of us are bottles?

How many of us are boxes?
How many of us need a box to stop our pointless rolling?

The Museum’s Concrete Floor

I was in the art museum.  It was a good day, but also a bad day as my knee hurt and I needed my cane to walk.  Titled Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement, this exhibit had many fine paintings, sculptures, books and other interesting art.  Much of the work came from Birmingham where my wife was born and had spent time training to be a nursery nurse.

I thought I could see the art and find a poem.

Halfway through, I saw a bench and my knee begged me to sit awhile.  It’s strange that after you see a lot of art that your brain wants to shutdown a bit.  It’s an input overload.  You see things – too many things and your brain stops processing the images.  I let my eyes drop to the floor, resting both knee and brain.

The floor was concrete.  Bare, but waxed and polished.  There were a few stains and a small hole where likely someone had once shot a nail in to the floor – maybe for an old wall or exhibit case.  From the wall there was a crack – thin, almost spiderweb like crack moving across the floor and under my bench.  In the middle of the room a crack radiated out perpendicularly from the first crack I saw.

All concrete cracks.  These cracks develop as the concrete dries, cures and shrinks.  You can’t stop it.  It’s part of the process – part of the essence of concrete.  Builders and concrete workers have ways to hide the cracks.  Those long lines on your driveway and the lines across the sidewalk are put there on purpose.  These cuts are made when the concrete is wet and weakens the material at those lines.  The cracks happen there.  A clever concrete crew can make it look like there are no cracks, but it’s an illusion.  They just know how to force the crack to be where they want it.

A floor like the museum has is normally covered in carpet or vinyl so you’d never see the crack.  If you were in a hospital, grocery store or pet shop, you would see a nice floor, but the cracks would be hidden.

Here, where the art hangs on the walls, and where the walls change with every exhibition, they just let the floor run wild.  It’s not meant to be seen.

But yet there is a pattern.  There is a history of decisions.  There is a story why.  There is a metaphor that runs through our controlled yet wild lives.

Perhaps the poem is in the crack on the floor and not hanging on the wall.

And there is my stew.  Raw food waiting to be cut, chopped, spiced, mixed, and simmered until a poem’s aroma fills the room.

What ingredients have you found this week?

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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21 Responses to Three Things that Could be Poems

  1. Baydreamer says:

    Wonderful post of turning everyday observations into poetry, Andrew. Every morning I walk our dog, so there is an abundance of inspiration along the way: other people, dogs, flora and fauna, sounds, etc. I’m especially inspired when we’re camping and/or backpacking in the wilderness: the trail and its twists and turns, the sparkling lake water, the solitude, the crackling campfire, and so on. If we take the time, poetry whirls all around us.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Debra says:

    I completely understand the need for observations, feelings or impressions to marinate for a while. Poetry has a particular feel to it when you know it’s moved from reporting to sensing. My week has been punctuated by a memorial service for a cherished loved one while watching a mother bird feeding her babies, so close that I could touch them. The metaphors have been so plentiful that I won’t be able to write and share until they settle down a bit! Happy marinating on your end, Andrew.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry to hear of your loss. Sometimes we need the distance of time before we can write about something. In the meantime sometimes just the observations can be meaning and comforting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave says:

    You’re an observant guy, Andrew. Mowing the lawn in the desert makes me think of those pristine meandering golf courses, with lush green fairways adjacent to an arid landscape of scrub oak and cactus. Perhaps there’s hidden meaning in that image as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am suddenly craving stew! 😆🤣😂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A fine example of prose poetry! Thoroughly enjoyed this, Andrew.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your stew was a delectable treat! Alchemy at it’s best! Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. They just let the floor run wild–just love your floor, and other stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. davidprosser says:

    I think your muse must be happy with you finding so many things you can find inspiration in to help you form a poem. Apart from a visit to the corner shop, which has been missing from my life for so long the owner thought I might be dead, my only outing this week was my usual shopping trip. I think I’ve finally proved I have no soul as none of the things I saw leant themselves to a poem. It’s just as well you can rise above it and can form verse to keep me in touch with at least some culture.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Very interesting observations, Andrew, especially about the concrete. Our local hospital has pulled up all the old carpets and replaced with polished concrete. It looks nice and clean. I will look for cracks when Michael and I are there today. He is ill again.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Duane says:

    I loved this!! You’ve got some great ingredients there and I can’t wait to see the poems that come from it. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

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