Tags

, , ,

An inscription found on the flyleaf of Emerald Ice by Diane Wakoski while browsing the poetry shelf in a used book store the summer of 2010, in Bend, Oregon. We had not moved to Bend yet but if I was a person who looked for signs—in tea leaves, in the clouds—which I’m not, I’d think the place to live is where I can buy a book with a message “to Kate” assumedly by the author—

     with high hopes for lots
     of jewels and beautiful
     things to fall at yr. feet.

In Emerald Ice, I’ve discovered jewels of language with the magic to transport me into the place of the poem, such as Un Morceau en Forme de Poire which begins:

     Sitting on my kitchen table
     is its yellow enamelled cast iron pot
     is the remains of a liquid for poaching pears
     which contains caterpillars of lemon peel
     and centipede lengths of vanilla bean.
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
     The fragrances of vanilla and chocolate and pear mingle
     with some beets and onions, waiting on the counter
     for soup.
     Reminding me of a moment
     in my life
     which perhaps was a bridge between
     the girl who ate ham sandwiches on white bread with mayonnaise
     & a pickle 
     on Saturday evenings,
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The poem segues into memory of a night of babysitting in a home where “The whole kitchen was permeated / with the smell of vanilla biscuits, / and a mingle of other interesting possibilities. Some / leeks? The Viennese roast coffee beans? Some rusks / which were also lying out?” But the real mystery is not the way that fragrances can move us to a different place, but whether there might be some inherent connection that transcends place (and time):

     Perhaps last night
     across the continent
     that couple, now undoubtedly in their 60s
     woke up
     to a distant fragrance
     of poaching pears,
     a torte baking,
     the ganache cream being stirred with its 15 ounces of chocolate?
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Mystery. Mysteries.

I wonder, have I met the Kate who somehow let this book go. . .

Source:

Diane Wakoski. Emerald Ice, Selected Poems 1962-1987. Santa Rosa, Calif.: Black Sparrow Press, 1988 (Un Morceau en Forme de Poire, 1981. pp 319-321).