Looking Nostalgic

This is the last entry for National Poetry Month. I’ve completed the Super Poetry Challenge and claim bragging rights by using the Bonus prompt – write a poem using the words basil, ink, tub, bread, candle and lace! Hope you enjoy this one!

She can barely read the ink
On the card, questions the use of basil
In a recipe for potato bread
All the while the bread in the tub
Rises like smoke from a candle
And she rolls up sleeves trimmed with lace

Too late she regrets the choice of lace
While baking as she smudges ink
On sleeves now sooty as a candle
Wick, and the poor basil
Plant has sacrificed to the dough in the tub
That once baked will be bread

She remembers her mother’s bread
Loses track of time fingering the lace
As the dough doubles in the tub
She remembers to punch it down leaving ink
On the dough and coming away with basil
Bits on her knuckles and decides to light a candle

She dims the lights to see the candle
Better inhaling the aroma of bread
Dough tinged with the sharp smell of basil
She kneads the dough and it sticks in the lace
On her sleeves, at least she washed the ink
From her hands as she washed the tub

She didn’t take the time to dry the tub
The water spots reflected the light of the candle
Over come with sadness her tears fell and the ink
On that long ago written recipe for potato bread
Started to run as she quickly blotted it with a lace
Cuff flecked with chopped basil

Forming the loaves, a single leaf of basil
Adorned the top, resting as she stowed the tub
Scrubbed at the dirty sleeve lace
Blew out the candle
And placed the pans into the oven to become bread
Which would hopefully be white despite the ink

Her mother’s memory in fresh basil and scented candle
Her mother’s mixing tub and her secret recipe for bread
Made her happy even with ruined lace from the ink

I know this is long but I felt that I needed to write a sestina for the sake of nostalgia. You see many years ago on Xanga, a poetry friend challenged me to write a sestina. I struggled mightily. It got to the point that I developed a strong phobia to this particular form. She would write sestinas that would send me into literary raptures. I was baffled at how she could take 6 random words and weave a wonderful story within a poem and not only make it flow but make it live and breathe. So in honor of Sandra (aka Harpo’sMark aka BianchiStreet) I bit the bullet and wrote a sestina and I didn’t even stutter or break out in hives!!

53 thoughts on “Looking Nostalgic

  1. Wowsers, Muri! It’s one thing to use those six words, another to use them six times in one poem, and over the top to use them as the end words of the lines, in the very specific order required by a sestina! I notice both you and Saintvi associate a tub with making bread. To me, a tub is for taking a bath, or the squat container margarine or cottage cheese comes in. Anyway, it’s a chill rainy day here and baking bread sounds like a great idea. I’m done with the prompts, but did a bonus poem today, an ABCDarian that addresses the COVID-19 toilet paper crisis: https://justjoan42.wordpress.com/2020/04/29/havent-a-square-to-spare/


    1. Thank-you Joan! I guess the word tub is kind of regional but ’round here it can be used for either bread or bathing. Maybe we just make more bread? (Not to say we don’t bathe!) I love the ABCDarian! I’ll just have to go see your (no doubt accomplished and amusing – I mean how can you not have fun talking/writing about TP) poem!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It never crossed my mind! End of the semester is always a busy rush of activity – both for student and instructor! I hope you get some time to spend on writing pursuits. My joy of poetry helps keep my mind engaged and mental processes sharp! I hope the same for you…

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Hehe! Then you wouldn’t be alone! My teacher friend had to come up with a final exam for her class – sounds easy enough but when you teach skills that are mostly a hands-on lab coming up with a final is tough… I haven’t talked to her to find out her solution and I think I’ll wait until the frenzy has passed!

          Liked by 1 person

        1. My father was a mathematician and computer programmer but was a teacher before computers were invented… I’m sure he was a little disappointed that math didn’t come easy for me. Algebra was easy but when I got to geometry and calculus my brain exploded!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. It is beautiful. What does thing make with what? i think a quite moving is in this poem. The quiet moving from a sense to the very sense, and it is beautiful. Maybe i must tell that the candle is basic and it is the bone of your poem. But in this world of shadows and colours, this poem borns in twilight. i prefer to walking in this weather. In the very weather and in the very where that wolves make me dancer, in the grey and wetness roads. Thanks.


  3. lol I’m sure Sandra would be suitably impressed as I was!

    I started to giggle at the wondrous way you wove those prompts into each and every stanza 🙂
    I’d suggest no lace sleeves the next time you bake 🙂


  4. I’d forgotten all about Sandra’s sestinas. Didn’t she also do the running haiku/ tenru (might be wrong thing. i’m not googling)?
    Anyhow. This is lovely. You wove quite a lyrical story. I can almost smell the bread and see the blurry recipe card. And relate to the poor choices of wardrobe on a day of baking. So much nostalgia.


    1. Yep! Sandra was (and still is I’d wager) a wonderful poetess. I would love to do a Renga (the cooperative poems that are done in sets of hokku/waka). I mentioned it to saintvi and joyouswind and they want to try. I’m so happy that you liked this sestina!


  5. Wonderful!!! You’ve got it, by jove. 😉 I still sweat the sestina; thank you for not adding it to prompts! and now I miss our Sandra. and xanga. But. I’m posting some play for May for us!


  6. Congratulations Val for completing the NPM challenge and for ending it with a big bang. Your sestina is epic .wow..you weave all the word prompts so perfecrly well…i love how there is a story within your poem.

    I will be looking forward for more of your poems😊😊😊


    1. Thanks so much Mich! I am tickled pink that you think this is epic! I did enjoy the April Poetry Month and now that Kim Hawke has put out a May poetry challenge I’ll be posting more poems…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. more than wonderful, better than anything I have read in a long long time! your sestina is melodic, full of character, capturing a simple procedure with classic beauty unfolding. the ink and the basil trading places as scents and textures evoke a long forgotten process, something we all know but find hard to out into words. and you nailed this one, in my humble opinion, what a treasure you have written.


    1. Thanks and thanks again! You make me blush! I’m thrilled you loved it and found depth and meaning in this one. It is so very gratifying when a poem you really work at is received with such praise. Thanks again!!

      Liked by 1 person

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