the Bowl

The Bowl
I was going to drink a glass of milk for dinner but
then I remembered Heidi,
drinking milk from a bowl.
I pulled down my favorite bowl –
A small yellow bowl that looked like a beehive
when it was turned upside down, with a small crack at the top.
It was my grandmother’s bowl when she was small.
I poured the milk into the bowl
noting the contrast between the white of the milk
and the creamy crackled glaze of the bowl.
I drank deeply.
I drank until the bowl was empty.
I rinsed it out and put it on the drying mat.
I thought about my mother always wanting that bowl
for her grits and butter
with the over light egg in the center,
salt and pepper sprinkled on the egg.
I dried it and reverently placed it back on the shelf.
I wonder who will get this bowl when I die.
I wonder if they will love it as much as I.

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vivian Zems
    Sep 18, 2018 @ 14:56:04

    Toni, I somehow see this write and ritual
    as honouring the significance of the bowl.
    The carefully laid out steps and making the
    reader know why they ought to respect the bowl
    ….. I see the influence of Japan on your write.


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Sep 18, 2018 @ 16:05:37

    This is such a contrast with the modern world when nothing is precious anymore.. when we can buy a new bowl whenever we want… I think it’s key that we learn to love what we have instead of craving for more…


  3. anmol(alias HA)
    Sep 18, 2018 @ 16:32:26

    Oh, the heirloom and its importance become the focus of this ritual and act. At once emotional, it is quite methodical too in its step to step approach denoted by the sentences beginning with ‘I’. The poet’s own feelings and misgivings(in the end) are revealed through this procedure.
    I like this perspective — it is both personal and evocative, and more so, it is very well penned.


  4. Victoria C. Slotto
    Sep 18, 2018 @ 18:00:00

    I love the sense of respect and history that comes forth in this telling. Down in the desert, because of the fact that it was my parents place, there are many such memory making bowls etc. harking from my childhood. This is sensitive, tender.


  5. Carrie Van Horn
    Sep 18, 2018 @ 20:36:32

    I love this Toni! I love the importance you have placed within the lines, and the question at the end is beautiful. A heartfelt and lovely write!


  6. oldegg
    Sep 18, 2018 @ 20:40:13

    I loved this as it brought back memories of grandparents and aunts having their precious collectables which us kids couldn’t touch. It was in the days when few people had much at to prize as wages were expended every week with little left over for luxuries…or even essentials for that matter!


  7. Kerry
    Sep 19, 2018 @ 09:10:15

    So much love contained in a simple bowl.


  8. Frank J. Tassone
    Sep 19, 2018 @ 13:09:43

    You’ve managed to channel the essence of the Tea Ceremony and personalize it with your family history. And you’re simple, beautiful imagery adds a poignancy to it all, especially your speculation on the bowl’s future. A truly iconic write, Toni! 🙂


  9. kim881
    Sep 19, 2018 @ 15:28:08

    Oh my goodness, Toni! You’ve reminded me of my favourite book when I was a child and yes, Heidi did drink goat’s milk from a bowl! Now I have to find a copy and read it – I’ll check it out in the library next week!
    Back to the bowl in your poem – I love the way you describe it as smell, yellow and like a beehive – I can see it in my mind’s eye, and I love the fact that it was your grandmother’s.


    • kanzensakura
      Sep 19, 2018 @ 16:11:51

      It was one if the few things she inherited from her mother who died of TB when my grandmother was 10. I loved Heidi. I have it on my kindle

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  10. Magaly Guerrero
    Sep 21, 2018 @ 11:13:38

    I wonder if the mother also wondered about who would get it, while she looked at the egg centering her grits… Wonderful chain.


  11. priscillaking
    Oct 03, 2018 @ 21:28:17

    Simple and nice…I like souvenirs–sometimes; though if something is *too* much associated with one person I don’t like actually using it. It becomes a sort of museum piece.

    My father’s pre-Internet form of blogging was to read through the Bible, adding comments on how he thought each morning’s reading related to his current concerns. When my grandmother died, he annotated her Bible in its turn, just like the others he collected.

    I, on the other hand, don’t think I’ve opened her Bible since he died. I still wear one of her jackets–that was something we shared while she was alive. I still feel that her Bible was *hers* and I should keep my grubby little hands off.

    But I would never throw it away.

    I wonder how much this kind of feeling affects the way other people relate to heirloom objects?


    • kanzensakura
      Oct 03, 2018 @ 22:23:11

      I grew up with these old pieces- my great grandmother’s teapot, her grandmother’s set of breakfast dishes, etc. I feel if I don’t use it and just keep it, then I am hoarding. The exception is the small white handless teacup that came over as part if a set on the second voyage of the Mayflower. When I die, as my relatives are all dead and we have no children, some pieces are tagged to become museum pieces. Others are tagged to be sold and the money to go to a couple of local charities. I feel when I use these mementos that I become close to my ancestors.

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