Around this time every year, my acupuncturist reminds me that winter is a time for hibernation. It’s okay to huddle by the fire with the family, to be more “in” and less “out” (whether that’s your physical or your energetic being).
When snow blankets Maryland, everyone stays in and hunkers down. At my house, we curl up on the couch and watch movies or play board games. The first time we had a blizzard while my eldest was away at college, it felt strange to sit out the quiet storm without him.
Curling up, staying warm, clinging to family — all crossed my mind when I received my Winter Poetry Swap package from the swap-mistress herself, Tabatha Yeatts of the blog The Opposite of Indifference. There were treats to warm my spirit: homemade lip balm (one of Tabatha’s many talents), a box of delicious raspberry tea, and a planner filled with herbalist wisdom and recipes, including this one for Rosemary Chocolate Truffles.
Before I get too cozy, picturing myself staying in bed with my naturally delicious chocolate bon-bons, let’s read the ekphrastic poem Tabatha included with these gifts.
UPDATE: Typos that were entirely my fault have been corrected. Apologies to Tabatha!
by Tabatha Yeatts
She feels as though the bed is poised to roll her
out of it while she is sleeping, that no matter
how much she craves rest, the bed will
cast her away. perhaps the hands that
sawed and hammered the frame, tilted
the bed just so, sought to make it
inevitable that she would seek a
husband to keep her aboard.
she covers the bed with a
blanket of her own
tucks the sheets in tight.
I’m intrigued by the tension that Tabatha creates in this poem. As a knitter, the finale speaks to me — that the woman solves her unease by making something beautiful. I get a sense that this grounds her and counterbalances the tilted bed.
Time to make some truffles! Enjoy your holiday treats and have a great weekend, poets.
Oh this is an intriguing poem–who was it that made that tilted bed, rushing her into the ballast of husband? And yay for the blanket of her own making!
Enjoy your rosemary truffles and your hunkering down time.
Ballast is a great word for that husband, Buffy.
Wow, Tabatha! She never ceases to amaze me with her generosity, skill and talent. This poem does have that good tension. I love how the shape fits the story of it too. Enjoy snuggling up with some sweets and a good book. I’m fresh into winter break and looking forward to some hibernation time.
Have a wonderful break, Linda.
Enjoy the snuggling, Laura & the truffles. Tabatha always, always makes one think, re-read, think. I’m glad for the woman who seems so satisfied with her choice, tucking the sheets in tight feels like punctuation, a solid period. Lovely
I’m looking again at the shape of the poem. On its side, is it a figure tucked in bed, feet sticking up at the end?
This sounds like a perfect package for this shortest day of the year, and I love the poem and the painting it accompanies.
Happy winter solstice, Ruth.
This winter swap is full of warmth, from tea to book to poem. Enjoy some snuggle time. I love how the shape of the poem mimics the tilt of the bed, but brings us into its comfort as well.
Definitely — the comfort offers some release from that tension Tabatha created. It’s an emotionally rich poem.
Ah! This really is a treasure of a poem. Love the perspective – and so strongly written. I’m impressed that Tabatha pulled all that from the artwork. (I always find the ekphrastic so intimidating!!)
Enjoy your truffles, Laura. You’ve sure tempted me!
Thanks, Kat. Tabatha used my persona poem exercise, in part, for this poem. You can read a write-up of the exercise at Michelle’s blog, Today’s Little Ditty. This is from a few years ago: https://michellehbarnes.blogspot.com/2016/05/laura-shovan-writing-persona-poems.html
I like the physical and metaphorical shape of Tabatha’s poem. The decreasing lines makes you feel as though she will fall right off, but is captured as the last line sticks its words out and rescuers her. The painting and the light within it is gorgeous. And what a lovely assortment of treats you have, enjoy all Laura!
I’ve slept in a bed that conspires against the sleeper. It can be exhausting to have your subconscious awake all night trying to keep you from rolling off. The blanket adds some comfort, but I’d suggest abandoning the bed and building a quilt frame with its bones.
Bed and husband, college and career, career and career track…expectations held at bay by the firm commitment to make one’s life into one’s OWN life.
Lucky you, Laura, the recipient of all these gifts. Did Tabatha make the journal herself, I wonder? I adore the poem and I’m interested to see that Tabatha is using a form that I also fell into last December when I worked, rather painfully, on poems of loss. You can read them here: http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/p/art-of-losing.html
But Tabatha’s descending line length works to tip us out of the bed along with the speaker, until she tucks her own self in tight. Beautiful.
Wow what a beautiful poem and painting. I love how “a blanket of her own making” will balance out that tilted bed.