Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Blue and White Tablecloth by Carolyn McCurdie

Should we throw it away?
Your fingers rub at a stain by your plate.
Not a stain. It's a hole,
and I could mend it, but won't.

When the light shines through it, you notice
the thinness, and soon, here and here, more holes.
And see how the blue lines are worn
by the pull of connection

from my side of the table to yours,
by paths of conversation,
of passing gravy, salt.
How many years have we stood

pegging it out,
watching its white,
its snap, salute blue
kick high, swing, kick,

touch toes with the blue-white of sky?
This is the one that still drapes
fresh air across our table,
that smiles a picnic invitation

of lettuce from the garden,
apple from the tree.
Of course we should throw it away,
but on the days when it’s just me and you,

we bring it out again and laugh
at how silly we are.

Carolyn McCurdie

Thanks to Carolyn McCurdie for letting me use one of her poems for this week's Tuesday Poem.

Carolyn is a Dunedin writer who has published a novel, 'The Unquiet,' (Longacre Press, 2007). This poem is typical of Carolyn's crafted style of poetry. Her poetry quietly, assuredly, draws you into the story it is telling with an alluring lyricism.

It was hard to choose which poem of Carolyn's to use - she has written so many fine poems. In the end I chose this one because it is a favourite of mine and effortlessly demonstrates the attractive musicality and patience that all of Carolyn's poetry harbours.

I love the way this poem seamlessly relates an ordinary episode in a way that at the same time alerts the reader to the deeper issues of life - in this case, relationship, age, time and constancy.

It reminds us of what is most important in life; the relationship between two people that through 'the pull of connection' has weathered knocks and has survived, and goes on surviving.

It may be considered an old-fashioned concept for the 21st century - a faded, worn, blue and white table-cloth on a table - but this is a table-cloth that has 'snap' and has been seen to 'touch toes with a blue-white sky' as it flies in the face of a more modern, designer-label world. As such, it epitomises the essence of sustainability.' Kay McKenzie Cooke

This week's editor is Kay McKenzie Cooke a Dunedin writer who has had two books of poetry published; 'Feeding the Dogs' (Otago Univ. Press, 2002) and 'Made For Weather' (Otago Univ. Press, 2007). Visit her Tuesday poem 'some time' and others by the Tuesday Poets (look in the sidebar on the right for links).


Mary McCallum said...

Yes, Kay, I see what you mean about patience. I've read the poem three or four times now and each time it deepens. It is a lovely song to an enduring relationship - the kick of youth, the worn paths of conversation, the being together laughing at how silly they are... It would be perfect to give someone for an anniversary.

Lynne and Sue said...

Hello, how do I contribute a poem?

Mary McCallum said...

attributenow - email me if you have a blog and want to file a Tuesday Poem every week. My email is on the blog sidebar.

Helen Lowe said...

Wonderful use of language--and also the subtler emotional story that sometimes life's most profound experiences are also linked to the everyday.

Congratulations to Carolyn for crafting the poem and Kay for selecting it!

susan t. landry said...

i often feel that fabric speaks to me, tells a story. her tactile description of the tablecloth sets the stage for the sensuality and intimacy of the details that follow.

Pondicherri said...

cotton table linen creates an aura of elegance in any setting. These can easily stand regular wear and tear and are widely used in homes, hotels, restaurants, resorts etc

My Favorite Bedding said...

I am always impressed when I read a good poem, because I think writing poems can be quite a challenge. I have to say I never remember reading a poem about table linens, but it was nicely done.