Thursday, February 16, 2023

A Gathering of Poetry: February 2023


It's the third Thursday of the month so I'd like to welcome you to A Gathering of Poetry.

I've been spending some time in the kitchen, making room in my recipe box by clearing out recipes that I will never make and those that weren't big hits. I've also spent some time looking through my mother's recipe box. For someone that didn't like to cook very much she sure had a lot of recipes. Many of them are neatly written with a fountain pen, and there are also plenty of splatters.

When I Am In the Kitchen
by Jeanne Marie Beaumont

I think about the past. I empty the ice-cube trays
crack crack cracking like bones, and I think
of decades of ice cubes and of John Cheever,
of Anne Sexton making cocktails, of decades
of cocktail parties, and it feels suddenly far
too lonely at my counter. Although I have on hooks
nearby the embroidered apron of my friend's
grandmother and one my mother made for me
for Christmas 30 years ago with gingham I had
coveted through my childhood. In my kitchen
I wield my great aunt's sturdy black-handled
soup ladle and spatula, and when I pull out
the drawer, like one in a morgue, I visit 
the silverware of my husband's grandparents.
We never met, but I place this in my mouth
every day and keep it polished out of duty.
In the cabinets I find my godmother's 
teapot, my mother's Cambridge glass goblets,
my mother-in-law's Franciscan plates, and here
is the cutting board my first husband parqueted
and two potholders I wove in grade school.
Oh the past is too much with me in the kitchen,
where I open the vintage metal recipe box,
robin's egg blue in its interior, to uncover
the card for Waffles, writ in my father's hand
reaching out from the grave to guide me
from the beginning, "sift and mix dry ingredients"
with his note that this makes "3 waffles in our
large pan" and around that our an unbearable
round stain—of egg yolk or melted butter?—
that once defined a world.


Beaumont, Jeanne Marie. Burning of the Three Fires, BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010.

You can read more about the poet here


Thanks for reading and joining us for our monthly Gathering of Poetry. Be sure to visit Kym and Kat so you can gather more poetry and you can add your link below if you would like to share one of your favorite poems. The more the merrier!

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  1. What a powerful poem, Bonny. And . . . from just the memories of a kitchen! (I love poetry so much.) XO

  2. That poem is so perfect! I never really thought about it, but the kitchen really is so often where I find memories of family members, whether it's from their things or the recipes they made.

  3. Oh my! YES! Exactly all this, yes! (I still have my nana's potato peeler and the potato masher she got me - which was identical to her's!) Kitchen's hold the most memories of the entire house! (and I agree with Kym... I love poetry so much!)

  4. Oh my, I'm sitting at the computer in my office, but this poem brings such a flood of memories and I know the drawer where I will find silver from Fletcher's Mom, another place that holds the silver my Mom had (and the china)...the loaf pans that my Mom used. Thank you for sharing this poem (my eyes are a little misty now). And...I need to clean out the various recipe boxes I have!

  5. Oh Bonny, this is wonderful! I think our moms had a lot in common ... and I'll bet my mom's experience in the kitchen was like Beaumont describes.

  6. Oh, I like that poem! It reminds me of my mother and my grandmothers and makes me want to go and look through their recipe box and notebooks!

    1. Good poems (and recipe boxes) both hold a lot inside!

  7. What a wonderful poem. I have a recipe box from my Mom and Gram and treasure them both.


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