Imitation vs The Real Deal

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Maybe, maybe not. But when the muse calls out to us, and we are inspired, it can be a lot of fun to respond.

The present was inspired by Kristina Drake’s post, The Apple Peeler.

Cat’s Cradle by Robyn Sarah

When women together sit sipping
cold tea and tugging at the
threads of memory, thoughtfully
pulling at this
or that bit or loop, or slipping
this loop over that finger till
warp and weft of past lives begin
crazily to unwind, when women sit
smoking and talking, the talk
making smoke in the air, when they shake
shreds of tobacco out of a crumpled pack
and keep drinking the same weak tea
from the same broken pot, something clicks
in the springs of the clock
and it’s yesterday again,
and the sprung yarn rolls down loose
from the spool of the moon.

When women together sit talking
an afternoon, when they talk
the sun down, talk stars, talk
dawn–they talk up a dust
of sleeping dogs and bones
and they talk a drum for the dust
to dance to, till the dance
drums up a storm; when women
sit drumming fingers on tops
of tables, when the tables turn
into tops that spin and hum
and the bobbin of the moon
keeps spinning its fine yarn down
to catch fingers, when fingers catch
talk in a cat’s cradle, and turn
talk into a net to catch the curve
of the storm–then it’s talk
against talk, till the tail
of the storm trails into dust
and they talk the dust back down.

Things that matter and don’t matter
are caught together, things done and undone,
and the kettle boils dry and over
while they lean closer to peer down
into the murky water where last night’s dream
flicks its tail and is gone
(and the reel of the moon keeps cranking
its long line down)–when women together
sit sipping cold tea and sawing on the strings
of memory, it is an old tune.
The rice sticks to the bottom of the pan,
and things get left out in the rain.

Below is an alteration/imitation inspired by a scene at the poet’s home in Hungary.

A Carpentry of Old Men by Kristina Drake

When old men together sit planning
a new project, when they plan
the time out, plan views, plan
night – they plan up a dust
of lumber yards and beams
and they plan a fiddle for the wood
to dance to, till the dance
fiddles up a spark; when old men
sit stirring sugar in cups
with spoons, when the spoons turn
into tools that spin and whine
and the brace of the sky
keeps working its drill bit deep
to bore lumber, when lumber seats
plans in a bearing wall, and turns
plans into a frame to build the strength
of the spark – then it’s plans
against plans, till the flash
of the spark sears into wood
and they plan the wood back up.    

Things that matter and don’t matter
are caught together, things done and undone,
and the trees grow tall and strong
while they lean closer to peer down
into the fallen ashes where the day’s work
flicks a match and is gone
(and the truss of the sky keeps bracing
its timber frames up) – when old men together
sit drinking hot coffee and tapping on the boards
of tomorrow, it is a new song.
The sun glints off the metal flashing
and the gutters gather the rain.

Finally here is a version inspired by the poet’s beloved collection of gemstones and crystals.

Apache Tears and Desert Rose by Audrey Drake

When a woman alone sits sipping
hot tea and toying with the
mystery of life, thoughtfully
admiring this
Bloodstone or Emerald, or holding
this Garnet between fingers till
courage and joy of a new life begins
happily to unfold, when a woman sits
thinking and dreaming, the dreams
making hope in the room, when she takes
the Fluorite from the corner square
and keeps drinking the same hot tea
from the same tiny pot, something moves
in the depths of her soul
and it’s only today,
and the Moonstone rolls down loose
from one hand to the other.

When a woman alone sits dreaming
an afternoon, when she dreams
the sun down, dreams Turquoise, dreams
Agate- she dreams up a future
of waking vigor and joy
and she dreams a love for the future
to dance to, till the dance
evokes an embrace; when a woman
sits caressing the Mangano
at the table, when the tables turn
into clouds that form and roll
and the frequencies in the air
keep growing in strength down
to catch fingers, when fingers catch
dreams on a cloud, and turn
dreams into a net to catch the essence
of the clouds -then it’s dream
against dream, till the wisp
of the embrace trails into the future
and she dreams the future back down.

Things that matter and don’t matter
are caught together, things done and undone,
and the Kyanite moves up and over
while she leans closer to peer down
into the lovely Howlite where last night’s dream
flicks its tail and is gone
(and the Tiger’s Eye keeps seducing
the Pink Opal) -when a woman alone
sits sipping hot tea and loving the feel
of her Rose Quartz, it is an old tune.
The Amethyst vibrating in her hand reminds her of rain.


Twenty-one years ago, in the year 2000, Marjorie Snelgrove, had one of her poems published in Ballads of Our Lives. At that point in her life she was 74, just a few months older than I am now. Like many in our family, she had dabbled in poetry and other forms of writing most of her life – just for the sheer pleasure of it. In today’s world, she would most certainly have had a blog. In any case, I believe she was very proud to have her contribution accepted alongside those of hundreds of other amateur poets.

Today my mother would have turned 95, so I am going to post her poem on my blog.

“Hey, Mom! You’re on a different stage now.”

Mother’s Pride

More often than I ever would have imagined, my children create small miracles.

image (2)
Kristina Drake’s Recently Published Creation

I actually have a total of five two-legged miracles from them. And these five are delights that will forever feed my soul–I only hope they realize how much.
Today, though, I want to share a different kind of miracle: my daughter’s poem, Indulgence. It speaks strongly to me and, if you are a woman, it probably speaks to you as well. A man who appreciates poetry will also surely like it. Enjoy.

Teenage Girls Don’t Need Makeup

Pay attention, girls, ’cause I’m telling you the truth:

You don’t need any makeup to get your through your youth.

True beauty – that is real – doesn’t come inside a jar.

It’s important that you realize, you’re great the way you are.

image-10Forget about the lipstick, mascara, cream and blush.

They may make you look older, but what’s all the rush?

Enjoy your life at thirteen; learn to love yourself;

Stop looking in the mirror; leave the products on the shelf.

They’re full of nasty chemicals that aren’t good for you;

They coat your skin and lashes and muck your lips up too.

Plus after you have put them on, and you’re caked with all that stuff,

Before you go to bed at night, you have to scrub it off.

Finally, when you’ve finished that, your face is once more clean.

But wait! According to the pros, you must apply more cream.

Yes, this circle is a vicious one. It’s really quite a pain.

Before you leave to go to school, you must dress your face – again!

These products are not good for you, and look at the price you pay!

Though they promise to make you beautiful, this is what I say:

Without them you ARE beautiful, and you have a lot more time,

To do the things that really count, and that really help you shine.

Just be yourself and live your life; do real things – for you.

Spend time with friends, and learn, and do. Be beautifully real and true!

Don’t listen to cosmetics claims – the scene they show is fake.

Real women don’t look anything like the nonsense they portray.

Ignore their ads and keep your cash, and refuse to pay the price.

Instead of falling for their claims, consider my advice.

Makeup can cost a fortune, and help companies grow richer.

Just forget all their slick talk and listen to your teacher.


Note:This Rapper Drake” wrote and performed a shorter version of this rap for students in her last years of teaching at Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie, a girls’ school in Outremont, Quebec.

Thank you, Robert Frost


The woods are lovely, [white and bright,]

But I have [Wordpress posts to write,

And work to do before tonight,

And work to do before tonight.]

It’s rare that I enter these woods without the words of Robert Frost’s famous poem dancing through my mind. But since I was there on a sunny afternoon, his words didn’t quite ring true. So, I had to modify them. And yes, now they respect the moment. 🙂

Perhaps you’d like to listen to Robert Frost reading his original creation, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.