Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Necessity Is a Mother

Necessity Is a Mother

No metronome?
Ask your household items
to step in.
Keep time to the constant drip
of the bathtub
faucet. Tighten it for a slower
drip, a slower
pace. Angle the fan toward
the blinds,
so that the knotted cord taps
the windowsill.
Turn the knobs of the stove
so that the flame
tries to ignite, but let it tsk
tsk tsk without
ever catching. Practice that
in a well-ventilated
area. Bribe the neighbor kid
with sugar wafers,
give her a knitting needle
and saucepan
and stomp your foot to pass
the rhythm to her.
Sit in your car. Alternate between
your blinker
and your windshield wipers.
In this life,
we want things we do not have.
These needs
become our gifts, our instruments.


  1. How fitting that my ceiling fans are alternating 'ticks' as I read your poem...

  2. We had an old stove that needed matches to light up. I am wondering which I liked more, the tsk tsk tsk one or the other? You have me thinking. Happy Thursday Hannah! Thank you for the lovely morning poem. xoxo

  3. I love this poem, and after several reads, I'm still deciding what the final lines mean for me. I hate "ticking." I have a constant shower faucet drip, I can regulate between fast and slower, but I can't make it stop. I am constantly batting the light fixtures of my bedroom ceiling fan, trying desperately, to adjust them and take away the clack, clack, clack, as I'm trying to fall or stay asleep. I do not like these rhythms, counter to my own intuitive pace. Your poem expresses the need for patterned sound. A steady pattern unnerves me. Music, however, with its intricate, varying patterns, and poetry, are everything. I'm intrigued by the idea of our needs becoming gifts.

  4. Ha Ha! You are certainly on a roll this week writing very funny poems. "Practice that in a well-ventilated area" made me laugh out loud.

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  6. love love this piece. ahh, sugar wafers—an innocent, yet oh-so-dangerous, ploy.

  7. This one is lovely - the images are so specific and so recognizable.

  8. Oh well, Blogger ate my comments on your last several posts. Maybe you could write a poem about Blogger :-).

  9. The rhythm of life is a powerful beat! Loved this.


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