entries for the contest Defining Poetry
A cup is made of what is needed to retain substance. Yet, it is the emptiness, the vacuum left by the burning that is most necessary and utilitarian. It is the cupping that heats the blood and brings toxins to the surface. She often told me that tea was herbal wisdom in a cup.
We played with her paper dolls and sipped Red Rose tea in delicate china cups as light and fragile as rice paper. Sometimes she served the tea loose and we read the remains, claiming our futures as pirate queens and movie stars. She never wanted to marry the prince. We kissed and she cupped my budding breasts. I dreamt of plums and pomegranates.
Sundays, I tremble and take the bread and cup, rearrange these inner molecules, this hollow vessel again becoming a brave sinner. The Grail is a wooden cup.
I drink my morning expresso in a large glass cup. Sweeping up the shards, I remember how little it takes to turn bread and water into toast and tea.
Written for: "Invalid Item"
This poem "Cups" is a response to Gertrude Steins poem "A Box" from her collection of poems "Tender Buttons". Steins is a prose poem and that is the form I chose to follow.
Steins opening line in her poem, "A large box is handily made of what is necessary to replace any substance"----was the starting point for my poem--altered a little.
Ordinary objects---cups, boxes, buttons----do not exist for people as objects only----there is emotional resonance attached to everything we perceive. That is the direction I intended to go with my response to her poem. When I began my poem I did not know where it was headed---and was stunned by the images that arose. It is very loosely based on an incident from when I was a girl, an event I've not spoken about to anyone or been able to write about. I believe Steins power as a poet is evident in her ability to be a catalyst to emotion.