At home with “Frost”


It snowed again today. Again.

Hello March 22nd. Sorry, Spring…your brother Winter is a jerkface.

It’s appropriate then that a new connection sent me a quote by Robert Frost. Synchronicity, huh?

“What I am pointing out is that unless you are at home
in the metaphor, unless you have had your proper
poetical education in the metaphor, you are not safe
anywhere. Because you are not at ease with figurative
values: you don’t know the metaphor in its strength
and its weakness. You don’t know how far you may
expect to ride it and when it may break down with you.
You are not safe in science; you are not safe in history.”

Dive into the warm water of metaphor, folks.



I am not the monolith…


That’s the word of the day, the week, the year (so far…)

“Blech” and “Ack” run neck and neck for second place. I’ll consider any one syllable utterance able to accompany a heavy sigh at this point.

It’s not “writer’s block” exactly. It’s more “writer’s weary” perhaps. That might not be entirely accurate. I’m not weary from the efforts of writing. I’m weary from mothering and moving and domestic engineering endeavors altogether. Life is crazy right now. Aw, who are we kidding? Life is always crazy.

But to illustrate my real commitment to keeping up on my writing goals I’ll tell you that at this very moment I am blogging from the bathroom.  Don’t panic, I’m sitting on a small bench and waiting patiently at my youngest child’s request, while he takes a shower. He doesn’t like to be alone. He thinks our bathroom is “creepy.”  Luckily, he’s still young enough that me sitting in here keeping him company is not “creepy.”  So there’s that.

If I was anyone else apart from Mrs Metaphor I’d say the above paragraph would end up being my entire post for the day, the whole meat of the meal so to speak, but I am Mrs Metaphor and I have a reputation to uphold.

Generally my children like to be alone. They like working things out for themselves but they’re not afraid to ask for help. When I began homeschooling lo’ those many years ago I promised myself that I’d always say “yes” when they asked for help and clearly, I’ve kept that going. It has its drawbacks, blogging from the bathroom being one of them I guess, but overall things do work out eventually. The other three do dress themselves and figure out things on their own now. Miles is funny though, he’s capable of fiery independence one moment and clingy reliance the next. He is the embodiment of every angst and every joy in the house. I confess there are moments often in which I don’t know what to do with him or how to react and it weighs on me.

He’s the child with whom I spend the most time and so, he’s the child with whom I have the least patience. He’s the one I feel I have to hold close every single night because I am afraid he gets the short end of the stick which is a little crazy because more often than not, the stick is not a stick at all. It is actually a heavy black monolith and it feels as though it’s resting on my shoulders all the time.  It’s what I have to give and it’s what I have to give. It can be overwhelming, the responsibility of it all.

In my never-ending search for balance and harmony it’s helpful for me at this point to step back a little and to realize that I am not really meant to carry this block of stone around, in fact I’m not sure it’s really possible for me to carry it around at all. In reality, that monolith doesn’t move, time courses around it, life courses around it, like water around rocks in a stream.

In times like this, sitting in the bathroom waiting for the youngest child to get over his fears and let me work in peace it’s important for me to remember that I am not the monolith. I am the water as much as any other member of this family. I’m as changeable and uncertain as us all. The monolith is a good place to hang out, a smooth surface upon which to climb and bask in the sun a little perhaps. My great hope as I bask, water coursing around me and the clouds rolling in, is that I might remember that I am not the monolith and that this weight, the weight of the world, doesn’t rest on me.

the bread and the knife…

I was thinking today about my love of metaphor. I love it because of it’s poetic directness….now at first blush that may seem an odd pairing and of course, it is…because that is the very nature of metaphor…odd pairings. The basic underlying principle of metaphor as I understand it is to take two seemingly unrelated ideas and bring them together, show their connectedness, breathe their shared oxygen.

Somedays when I ponder metaphor I think it may actually be the solution to all the world’s ills…if only we made time to look deeply enough to see them.

These “odd pairings” though…consider this…the poetic nature of metaphor being the comparison,
your words are chocolate to me…
our God is a strong tower…
the undercooked shrimp was a timebomb….

We have the poetic and yet we have the directness too…I’m not saying your words are LIKE chocolate…they ARE chocolate. It is just that real. No wimpy simile here, direct, commited, unabashed. Metaphor is strong.

I write all this and yet the first thing I think whenever I write metaphor is Billy Collins‘ poem, “Litany” and I will post it now here for your enjoyment. If you EVER get the chance ot hear Billy read his work live and in person, I highly recommend this. 😉

Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine…
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine