Friday, January 09, 2009

Poetry Stretch Results - My Mother's Kitchen

The challenge this week was to write a poem about your mother's kitchen. There were a few additional pieces suggested, such as including an oven, something green, something dead and a female relation. But as poetry is want to do, the words that come out don't always match the initial requirements. That's alright, since what does come out is usually much more honest. Here's what folks are sharing.
Jacqueline Leach Dove left her poem in the comments. She found her way here as many often do, through some kind of serendipitous search. Welcome, Jacqueline!
    My Mother’s Kitchen
    My mother’s kitchen has an ant farm
    And confusing tins with tea.
    A territorial cockatoo who struts about,
    Causing unsuspecting toes alarm.

    My mother’s kitchen is eclectic
    More artist’s lair then cooks abode.
    The pots upon the stove quite hectic,
    Declaring with gusto their mother load.

    My mother’s kitchen is at times
    Heavy with unspoken words
    As duty wrestles with desire
    Amongst the whey and curds.

    My mother’s kitchen is the place,
    Visitors first spy as they arrive.
    Flowers, art, bead work embrace
    All with eyes to absorb it’s grace.

    Hark, who is this whose skipping in,
    Joanna clasping fresh-picked flowers
    The daughter of the next-of-kin,
    She who is destined for her own kitchen?
Marianne Nielsen from Doing the Write Thing! shares a poem entitled The Kitchen.

sister AE of Having Writ shares a poem called The New Kitchen.

On her FaceBook page, Jane Yolen wrote about her mother's cooking in My Mother's Kitchen.

D. Dina Friedman left this poem in the comments.
    It is an airless place.
    The walls are green.
    On a dark table, meat
    drips blood onto wax paper

    There are bones, soup, smells,
    dirt on the floor, dog hair
    chopped meat in a gleaming silver bowl
    where I must go in an add

    bread crumbs, tomato, egg
    and form flesh into perfect shapes.
    It is a place of flesh,
    of women’s voices and old pots,
    family carcasses framed on the yellow refrigerator
    the shells of ourselves. My wild brother sneaks in
    and steals cookies.
Elaine from Wild Rose Reader shares a poem about her grandmother called A Home for the Seasons. She also shares five more memoir poems about her maternal grandparents.
I didn't exactly follow the rules this week either. Here's my poem.
Scenes From a Kitchen
I close my eyes and remember

Pegboard cupboards and uncovered baseboards
Gramma mixing German potato salad in the tulip bowl
Five of us at the kitchen table

Me in my mother's lap, mourning the loss of a grandmother
Cookies--sour cream, cut-outs and chocolate chip
Four of us at the kitchen table

Mom with her back against the oven on cold winter days
Spaghetti and meatballs every Saturday night
Three of us at the kitchen table

Chocolate molds hanging on the wall
Porcelain elephant holding Mom's rings on its trunk
Two of them at the kitchen table

Much too quiet now
It's not too late if you still want to play. Leave me a comment about your poem and I'll add it to the list.


  1. Love these! I'm now craving spaghetti and meatballs . . .

  2. What rich ground here! I am sorry I missed doing this. I can't remember what I was occupied with this week but it must have been decidedly unpoetical. I'm going to read all this poetry now and then I'll scribble something down to work on later. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Also I meant to say I love the details in your poem Trisha and the progression of loneliness and loss. Sad and nurturing at the same time.

    Dove and Friedman's poems are so complex too. Mother's kitchen must be a central node for all of us.

  4. Tricia,

    I agree with the comments Cloudscome made about your poem.

    About not always following directions when writing poems: I sometimes find that a poem takes me where it wants to go not where I want to take it.