Monday, September 5, 2011

and fire & ice was what my mother wore

fire & ice

fire & ice 
the ritual, the sacrament
cutting the tomato 
slicing the steak
buttering the toast
telling the old dream

fire was your hair and your finger tips
ice was the glass, the drink
fire was compassion, irritation, love and sorrow
ice was the locker in your heart 
where your secrets chilled

between fire and ice
between yes and maybe and absolutely not
 where you put down the drink 
placed your 
 hand on a forehead
your cool hand
calm voice
tipping into 
slipping off to

fire - your nails clicking the table beside your chair
flipping over the cards, one by one
ice - the list of recipients on the back of the envelope
under 'when my ship comes in'

the smell of your pressed powder 
your body encased in that fifties armour
a rouge pot
nestled beside the dance card
with the tiniest pencil attached
by a golden cord

what's it going to be?


Maggie said...

Fabulous! So evocative, so spare. Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration.

Tameri Etherton said...

What a lovely poem!
It evoked so many images and left me wanting more, more, more.

I love your header pic, too!

Jan Morrison said...

Maggie - thanks! If my mother had lived, she would've been 95 yesterday. At first I did a tributey thing - as I usually do - then this poem popped out.

Tameri - and thank you...I will give you more! My revisioning mind is wanting me to write poems. ha.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - Wow! This is so powerful! You've really shown me what your mother meant to you - such elegant use of words! I am in sincere admiration...

Jan Morrison said...

Thank you Margot. I loved my mum and still miss her, nearly twenty years after she died, and wished I could have known more about her. She was a good mum and she was crazy about my dad, but she wasn't altogether happy.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Jan; This is tremendous! The words are so well chosen that I can tell there are fifty words behind each of them.

Jan Morrison said...

Oh Elspeth - thank you! Just the stroke I need right now. I buckled down and did my two chapters of revision for the day - now I'll take the Hoagy beast out for a stroll in the 'Scotch Mist' (that's Nova Scotian for rain!)

Claire Robyns said...

Beautiful, that's all I can say :)

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, that was great, Jan--very nicely done!

Clarissa Draper said...

So deep with meaning. There's just never one side to anyone. What a way to describe it--fire and ice!

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks Claire!
Tartlette - our parents are a constant source of inspiration, no?
Clarissa - fire & ice was the name of the nail polish (Revlon) that my mum wore.

Maggie said...

I am not a poetry fan and I loved this! Beautiful.

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks Maggie - all the more precious!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

Jan, I love this piece -- it's beautifully written and powerful.

Thanks for commenting on my entry! I’m #76. Looking forward to the next assignment!

Arlee Bird said...

a vivid portrait of a woman of another age in time. Nice work.

Tossing It Out

Anonymous said...

Very evocative of an earlier time and place--MY time. And your mother's. Visual poetry can be powerful, and this one is. Form fits the meaning. I'm impressed!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Jan Morrison said...

Hi Angela - yes - I decided not to take this challenge due to other things I had to do - but I'll jump in next week.
Thanks Lee!
Ann - thanks...I'm glad you appreciate it.

Pam Torres said...

The brevity is so powerful. I'm left with a sense of strength and tenderness all wrapped into one image of warmth. Love it!

Anonymous said...

thank you for this, Jan -- I came to check on you (!! Alex's insecurewriters) and instead found something infinitely more powerful and relevant. My mum was 100 a couple of weeks ago and Fire & Ice would have suited her admirably. A schoolday friend called her 'sweet and fizzy' to her face. She didn't object, but she would have ADORED your poem.