Sunday, April 6, 2014

Poem #6

Original Tower of Nanjing, Wikimedia Commons, Dr. Gary Lee Todd
 I'm participating in Mary Lee Hahn's "Our Wonderful World" poetry series this month. Today's wonder is the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing and Mary Lee has an absolutely gorgeous poem that you definitely need to read. When I am not trying to write poetry, my sisters and I are cleaning out the patio home where my mom has lived for the last twenty years, because she has recently had major surgery and moved into an assisted living facility. My mom has lots of beautiful stuff, but it's been really hard to know what to do with all of her treasures. This is the poem that came to me today.

"Porcelain Tower"
Cleaning out my mother’s house
my sisters and I build a porcelain pagoda
treasures we do not know how to keep
but cannot bear to give away
in the middle of the living room

Sterling silver tea set
my parents’ wedding gift
from my Grandmother Wilcox
it lived on dining room buffet
for many years
Sunday afternoons
my father would watch golf or football
and polish the tea service
he has been gone twenty years
and the tea service
clearly misses his ministrations.

Wedding china
White with one pink rosebud
wrapped around the rim
the first year
I did not come home
for Thanksgiving
my throat ached as
I pictured my family
uncovering those pink rosebuds
as they ate turkey
and homemade cranberry relish.

Waterford crystal
cut glass dishes,
pitcher, sugar bowl,
one piece purchased
by my Grandma Grace
every December
for my parents’ anniversary
displayed in
special bottom-lit case
but rarely used
because it chipped so easily

We heap everything
in the middle of the living room
one sister says none of this goes with her modern décor
the other says she has her own collection
I imagine my boys’ large rough hands
mishandling these delicacies.

we wrap everything in bubble wrap
and store it in tubs
building a plastic pagoda
in my youngest sister’s basement.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2014

1 comment:

Mary Lee said...

This is touching...and heart-breaking.