Friday, February 13, 2009

Poetry Friday: I cannot

In her Monday Poetry Stretch, Tricia at the Miss Rumphius Effect challenged us to write a love poem without using words of adoration or affection. I'm not sure I complied, but here I am anyway:

I cannot

Do not fear the poaching of an egg
a recipe begins, and I cannot turn away.

I’ve faced my fear of peaches
(the answer: dare to eat them, every one)

and fear of fear itself
has been worked into my bone

and should I fear the Reaper (seasons don’t)
I can find him on the oldies station now

but of all the things to fear, I never dreamed to fear
the poaching of an egg.

Gathering eggs is good but poaching
---as in stealing--- eggs is wrong

and if you have to steal an egg
God help you when you run.

But should you buy them, as I do, 
in a carton, lift the lid

as if canvassing the engine  
of a far too rowdy bus hmmmmm,

and save the rows of bucket seats
for needy seedlings or for mixing

twelve ascending shades of yellow paint.
Watch, if you poach one, how it floats

not just in heated water but on a raft
of sugar-beaded toast, how it melts

the moonscape of an English muffin,
how a poached egg elevates anything,

even a rainbow-sequined 
tube top worn jauntily to breakfast.

But this morning, my eggs are
scrambled. I suppose I did it

because I was afraid. 
An uncooked egg poses 

perfect questions by balancing
in its shell. I do not fear  

the poaching of such an egg;
only the exactitude it requires.

I cannot write a love poem 
about you either.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Poetry Friday is hosted by Kelly at Big A, little a.


  1. What a wonderful poem. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Sara, Sara, Sara, you've blown me away, totally, with this poem!! The moonscape of an English muffin, sugar beaded toast. Love how I'm pulled in from the very beginning, and how the last two lines deliver. Eggs will never the same again. (Now I know why I keep scrambling mine.)

  3. I thought I should scramble my eggs today too... but... sugar beaded toast? What the heck I'm poaching!!!

    Thanks for the shot of courage.

  4. True enough, you didn't use any words of adoration, and yet you clearly love your eggs!

    Working BOC lyrics into an anti-love poem, always a good move.

    Thanks for this.

  5. I heard this very song on the way to work this morning, though it was a classic rock station, not oldies!

    This is a marvelous ode with all the sentiment and none of "offending" words. I'm so glad you played along!

  6. I love what you do with language!

  7. Aww, Sara. How very sweet.
    I love the "bucket seats" of the egg carton, and the jaunty rainbow sequined tube top. Breakfast at your house must be interesting!

    Point of interest: I've never eaten a poached egg. You eat them with sweet (sugar-beaded) toast? Interesting.

  8. You can eat a poached egg on anything. I like them on salads, and on English muffins, and while I admit I made up the recipe for them on "sugar-beaded" toast, I'm 100% certain they would be excellent that way also.

  9. Well, I'll be damned. That was about the most perfect poem I've read today, and I've ready plenty of poems, lady. May I print out a copy to call my very own? I promise to keep your name on it, of course, but I want to pet it and love it and call it George, it is that lovable and divine.

  10. Hee. Kelly, you may indeed print it out and call it George. I take no responsibility for what it does when you pet it, however.

    I will instruct it to be kind to you, though, because you made me laugh with glee this morning, and that is a very good way to start a day. (Hugs and thank you.)

  11. I love this! I will always look at English Muffins as moonscapes. My eggs? Scrambled and dry!

  12. Perfect. Plus it made me want eggs.

  13. SARA! This is so full of so many great moments that I don't even know where to begin.

    I always feel like I'm missing out when I get behind on your blog, and SEE WHAT I MISSED??!

    Thank you. That is perfectly delightful. I think I read it five times at first.

  14. This is my favorite love poem of the last 6 months, easy! Wow.

    (And we just played Don't Fear the Reaper on Rock Band this w/e.)


R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or you will be deleted)

You can receive followup comments to this conversation by checking the "notify me" box below the comment window.