It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is "harvest."
and me as we gather words from our thought gardens and preserve them in our verse.
If you'd like, feel free to leave a poem in the comments on any of our blogs, or if you prefer to post on your blog, leave us a comment so we can find you and cheer you on. Use the topic, or not. Have fun!
The equinox has passed, and here in Nova Scotia we are officially in Fall/Autumn. The summer heat I was whining about recently has suddenly left us -- probably in a huff at not being appreciated -- and has been replaced by moderate days and some very cold nights, including one that dipped below freezing and left frost in its wake.
In my little corner of the world, I've been doing seasonal jobs like cleaning the cat hair out of the electric baseboard heaters, which I thought were already cleaned out until I turned one on and smelled the singed fur. I've started wearing socks again so I can continue to enjoy having feeling in the parts of my legs below my knees. A few trees here and there have started to turn red and yellow, Thanksgiving (in Canada) is one week away, and the Halloween costumes and decorations are crowding out the rest of the wares in our thrift stores and dollar stores.
These are the signs of the harvest season to me. We are not a farming family, we don't even live in a farming community, and I don't preserve fruits or vegetables. And because I have GI issues, my diet is fairly restricted, so I don't get to enjoy many seasonal fruits or berries. In its traditional sense, harvest time doesn't register very high on the Aware-O-Meter with me.
So what's an amateur poet to do with the topic this week?
Why, go off on another tangent, of course.
One harvest I have
enjoyed the past few Autumns is gathering used books at the annual book sale in our town. The prices can't be beat, and although most books are a few years old, there are many I haven't read, and I choose mostly fiction, which tends to age well.
This year I wasn't able to visit the sale as often as usual, but I did end up with thirty-six books, all priced at either $1 or $2, and managed to donate six grocery sacks of books from previous years back to the sale. A moderate success on both fronts!
So today's poem is going to be about harvesting books -- how I choose from the vast array at the sale when the tables and tables of books tend to be overwhelming.
You will probably notice how this poem is very prose-y in style. I do feel like I'm cheating somehow, but, wow, I'm so tired of trying to find good meter and rhyme after the last few poems. I'm taking a break :)
Preparation begins at home.
I keep a running list of authors I enjoy
And the books they've written that I have already read.
I keep another list of books I've heard about
And have been too
cheap frugal smart
cheap to buy at full price.
With my list and cash in hand,
I bravely enter the sales venue.
(A curling rink in winter;
Cavernous, concrete, and cool
In fall, even with the ice out).
I wear comfortable clothes
And extra-comfortable footwear
And leave the handbag at home.
Buying at the used book sale
Is not for sissies
Or the fashion-conscious.
The books are four rows deep
On both sides of long, long, long
Alphabetized (thank goodness).
I ignore the weird smell in the building --
A faint odour of manure or outhouses:
I have no idea
Nor do I wish to know
Because I might not return --
And I need my books
Like a fish needs water
Like a bird needs airspace
Like a dog needs a bone
Like a cat needs naps
Like . . .
Okay, okay. You get it. I got it.
I look methodically at the spines . . .
How to choose, if I don't know the author?
It mostly comes down to the title.
(Any with 'vampire', 'knights', or 'murder'
Are passed over without another glance.)
A good title pulls me in like the smell of cookies baking.
Next, a quick read of the jacket
To get a sense of the story.
Finally, reading a paragraph or two within,
To judge the quality of writing.
Keep or reject.
(1) feet get sore
(2) back gets sore
(3) time runs out
(4) money runs out
That's my method.
Lulu, pretending to be a stack of books among the other stacks of books, and failing. The ears give her away every time. Points for trying, though.
Today's question is the last line of the poem, but you already knew that, didn't you?
To recap, how do you choose books (used or new)?
And more questions:
If you're not a book lover, how do you choose your weakness purchases, be it clothing, music, restaurants to try, etc.? Do you keep a list of what you'd like to have or try? Do you impulse buy? Do you ask for recommendations? Do you ever end up with duplicates? So many questions. Such a nosy Donkey!
(These are just suggestions! Pick one or none!)
Update: Next week's topic is "Thanksgiving", or, in lower case but just as important, "giving thanks" :)