February 29, 2008

Poetry Friday: Stuff

Whew. Friday at last, and a not a moment too soon.

Happy Leap Year, everyone! The end of February is also here, and we'll all share in the relief (just as soon as the forty-five mph winds stop gusting and the lights quit blinking off and on) that Spring is definite, indisputably, can't-hold-it-back on its way. No matter what that groundhog said: it's almost over.

Don't forget to read down to 'Toon Thursday; it's still so great to be made into a cartoon; I'm so much thinner on paper...!

When I'm not obsessing over the whole thinness issue, I'm obsessing over my things. This poem struck me as a the beginning of an explanation for why we cherish stuff so much. It's ours... we've named it. It's our baby...


Things

What happened is, we grew lonely
living among the things,
so we gave the clock a face,
the chair a back,
the table four stout legs
which will never suffer fatigue.

We fitted our shoes with tongues
as smooth as our own
and hung tongues inside bells
so we could listen
to their emotional language,

and because we loved graceful profiles
the pitcher received a lip,
the bottle a long, slender neck.

Even what was beyond us
was recast in our image;
we gave the country a heart,
the storm an eye,
the cave a mouth
so we could pass into safety.

"Things" by Liesel Mueller, from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems. © Louisiana State University.

The poetry of possessions and other 'stuff' can be found today at Writing & Ruminating.

15 comments:

jama said...

I love this poem so much! Why have I never seen it? Thanks!

Sara said...

Lovely. Makes me think of the way we personify food too: fingerling potatoes, and heels of bread, and hearts of palm. We have a need to make the world into our image even as we consume it, don't we?

divatobe said...

This is new to me as well. Wonderful!

Elaine Magliaro said...

That's a great poem. I love the way poets can look at the most mundane objects and find a poem waiting to be written.

Karen E. said...

We have such a need to *be* ... and to be in everything. This connects nicely with the poem today at A Year in Reading ....

Karen E. said...

And you are quite the lovely cartoon!
:-)

writer2b said...

Your Poetry Friday posts are always treasures. Thank you. (I love the chair photo too...)

Kelly Fineman said...

Love this. I like poems about the naming of things, I believe, whether it's Eliot's "The Naming of Cats", or the poems I heard last week at the reading about the naming of animals and kumquats. And I don't know that I'd have realized it was a love of subject matter without you and this wonderful poem.

Liz in Ink said...

Isn't language the most delightful thing. This is heavenly...

Cloudscome said...

Wonderful selection. That photo is precious and fits the poem perfectly.

Christy Lenzi said...

This is interesting. It reminded me of the lonely character in Castaway who gives the volleyball a face and personality.

I like the photo. At first I thought it was just a chair--I didn't notice the escaping wooden ball. Now when I look at it, I see a look of apprehension on its face.

Susan T. said...

Oh, I like this one, TadMack. Thank you. The poem became something different than I thought it was going to be. Cool.

Erin said...

That poem is so lovely.

John Mutford said...

"Even what was beyond us/ was recast in our image"-- I love that.

Mary Lee said...

Wow. "...we grew lonely/living among the things" to go along with Sara's "You can't have it all, but there is this" and "spellbound by our own imperfect lives/
because they are lives/and because they are ours" from mine. I think our poems make a kind of triumvirate this week...