Mary, : by Bonnie McClellan

Since you died,
……….I slip sideways through
……….the plastic flow of ice,
………………..resigned,
……….to the eventuality of burial.
The glacial blocks and till
……….of time,
………………..regained.
Not quietly like Proust with
……….tisane and madelines,
but open-mouthed,
into unanchored fear.

In Vocation of the Muse II: by Bonnie McClellan

In my map of things you are confounded with
……….grey-green clouds
……….pressing against
……….bright ground,
……….like Shiva’s foot.
……….Creating – uncreating
……………………………………………………spring.

Though properly your colours belong
……….to summer of golden
……….gulf-beach sand and
……….blazing,
……….hephaestian-hemitite sweat
……….against the cuffs and
……….collar of
……….field, cotton white and
……….August sky or shallow
……….water running over
……………………………………………………stones.

Water running over stones - copyright Matthew Broussard 2006

In Vocation of the Muse: by Bonnie McClellan

This poem has disappeared from this website. To hear a reading click on the audio player below:

To read more poetry by Bonnie McClellan, click HERE.

cloud table:inter prestation

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light-bearing months; burnt out, used up, exhausted, passed by

heavy grey clouds twisting, cajoling, traveling along the route of back-lit, illuminated, golden-edged time

passed, exhausted, used up, burnt out;  visual border between heaven and earth compensated, forfeit.

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inter: put into the earth

prestation: the obligation to perform or not perform a duty

Perfect Orange Cake!

Gâteau à l’orange or The French know their cake:

Years ago my mother gave me this cook book. It’s a first edition from 1950 of French recipes by Mme. Germaine Carter. Of interest for the story of how it was compiled as for the recipes themselves; Mme. Carter, her husband (the British consul at Boulogne) and Mr. Rapp (British ambassador to Mexico) were interned together in Brandenburg during WWII and passed much of the time discussing French cooking and compiling this book.

Easy and delicious:

Although there are many things in this book that I will probably never make – say, Calf’s Brains with Cream Sauce or  Lark Pâté – I have found that the recipe for mayonnaise is stupendous and, like the two cake recipes I use again and again, easy to follow with reliable results. First take a look:

 Mme. Germaine Carter’s Gâteau à l’orange

Looks good, yes! Here’s the recipe:

4 eggs beaten
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups milk
3 cups sifted flour
4-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
grated peel of 2 oranges
juice of 1 orange**
1 cup butter

Beat the eggs wit the sugar; add a little milk. Sift the flour wit the baking powder and salt. Add milk and flour alternately, beating well. Add the orange peel and juice of 1 orange then the butter. Beat well and pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake in a moderate oven (350ºF / 180ºC) for 40 min. Remove from the pan to a cooling rack.

It is in fact, as easy as it sounds. My only modifications have been to bake the whole shebang in a large sheet cake pan and to check it after 35 min. She follows this recipe with another for ‘orange syrup’ which uses the juice of the second orange, another cup of sugar and a 1/2 cup of water; however, I’ve only done that once. The cake is quite ‘orangey’ enough without and my whole family loves it ‘as is’ with no icing or with sweetened whipped cream and fresh strawberries as in the photo. It does make a lot of cake so it’s perfect for a party, the layer cake you see in the picture is what I made with the 1/3 that was left over the second day after the other 2/3’s had been devoured ;).

Hope that you all enjoy Mme. Carter’s Gâteau à l’orange as much as we do.

**This is one recipe in which those beautiful Italian ‘blood’ oranges are not recommended unless you want your cake to turn a bluish-grey! The beautiful hot pink juice of these oranges is Ph reactive and will  change color when it combines with the baking powder

Mothers and Daughters: Red Square (a map of our mother’s closet circa 1972)

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We will know her by her symbolic attributes;
In her image neither lily nor byzantine purple signify.
We will note that in the hard-drawn felt-tip icon of the Mother God
She is ever shown wearing Red high heels.

Some colored squares in our territory’s mapped legend fade,
Re-worn and illegible as old confetti on a wet asphalt street
tracked back by our insistent, diminishing feet.
Others cling, vibrant in the hanging dark:
stripes of light cotton voile:
one turquoise,
one lime
green.

In more contemporary images we will note:
The hard-drawn, felt-tip Icon of the Mother God
Wears Red high heels. Her dress, now codified,
is the color of the first oak leaf in spring; however

it lacks the turquoise
of Texas’ summer skies.
This color cooled has flown
from our mother’s dress,
to hold light purchase only
in our daughters’ eyes.

by Bonnie McClellan

Wool in Italy – What’s new?

I’ve realized that I was blogging alot about knitting and wool, so I’ve moved that over to my new blog:
come take a look and find out about:
So, if you’re interested in receiving my latest knitting, spinning and wool-working news and inspirations, please stop by at Wool in Italy and click the ‘follow’ box to your right on the home page.
Meanwhile, the rest of life in Italy will keep posting here so stay tuned for recipes, art, random thoughts, gardening and other things going on at the house.
Thanks for reading and happy wool-working to you woolies out there.

Mothers and Daughters: Intermittent Signal (Non c’è campo)

field

My sister’s voice
shattered across
an inconsistent, oscillating
field
stammering in and out
of being
then gone
but imprinted
on the field
not of you are here
but of you are this.

lack

My grandmother’s pearl
earrings oscillating
one black pearl one
the color of cream
thick with fat.
– she moves her head, lifting
her hands to speak
two palms holding up
a weightless field –
her lips move and issue
the sound of glass
sublimed

expansion

I am made up of stars that are not, or
the container of their memory:
fireworks cracking the saint’s day
of the insomniac night
I became not always
the one who leaves
but the one who is (for her)
the fertile field/the constant star.

dispersion

How long until she knows
what it is to be the glass
flowing into flatness,
ceding the vertical,
breaking the light,
into water?

by Bonnie McClellan

"non c'è campo" photograph by Bonnie Broussard

a note on the title: Italians often refer to a place in which there is no reception for mobile devices as “un posto dove non c’è campo” – although the word campo translates as field (with the same degree of semantic density as field in English) it also implies range or depth of field.

Mothers and Daughters: Terra Cotta

Peering into the narrow compact
Rectangle reflecting back:
The rumpled face of a woman
……….whose father is dying;
……….whose mother will die.

Under chin skin slags, begins
To give up the ghost of a woman
……….whose skin was once full
……….and firm as an egg.

Now, like a plastic bag full of slip,
When squeezed in the right places takes on
Then, temporary grace of a woman
……………who will also die;

Falling away into potsherds, unfired.
Falling away into sand, into clay.

by Bonnie McClellan

Tic - photo: Bonnie Broussard, sculpture: Matthew Broussard