SORRY-having trouble with these links?-the book is available for purchase, but out of print:
SORRY--I cannot get AMAZON to link here, but if you go to their site and search for this title, you can purchase it in paper or hardback.
I USED TO BE A TEACUP
I used to be a teacup
Bone and gold-rimmed
Thin-lipped and light
Easy to hold.
Then I became a mug
Heavy and practical
People warmed their hands on me
Warm steam rising
Scented the air
With home and good.
If I live, I’ll grow to be
A gravy boat
Smug and self-satisfied
Filled with an imperfect, lumpy mixture
Comforting and familiar
Only brought out on special occasions.
PRAYER OF THE MAD FARMER’S WIFE
May the weeds grow into heart-shaped hedges
Giving symmetry and order to ragged fields
That August sun has turned loose and ugly.
Let sunburned calves and their tired mothers
Find a pool of winter-cool shade
Between woods and creek at our world’s edge.
I am lost on a heat-shimmering quilt
Just yards from an open door where
My children watch for the relief of nightfall
And aimless bees and flies look to me
Saying, “You must know something.”
Let there be silence once again
As voices dwindle to snowsoft murmur,
My life rising anew from behind the mountain.
The spring burst of white blossoms
Keeps its promise.
My mother’s tree is a good one.
October’s cool blue sky
Lures out the wooden paddle and kindling,
The black kettle nesting in the basement
A congregation of clean jars
Ready for the yearly rite.
While the fire licks the kettle clean
Burns the cinnamon smell into our clothes
My mother’s hands
Smooth the last quarter-moon apple
Out of the pan.
I think of the mounds of peels
My mother’s knife cuts true.
We wait silently side by side
When the bubbles and steam are thick
The jars are lined up
To receive the blessing.
This year I am old enough
To fill them up.
In the thick smell
Spring comes to fall.
We carry each jar to the basement;
They wait to be called up
A reserve of past plenty
Denying the power of winter
Down in the dark cool heart
Of the house.
Recommendations for "COUNTING THE SUMS'
"The quiet simplicity of the title of Rita Quillen's second collection of poems gives onto dark and rending scenes, where the lightning of joy strikes just often enough. Her gifts as a poet are many: a fine ear for those subtleties of rhythm and sound variation that delight the ear; a grounding in both classical and native traditions of verse and storytelling; a piercing awareness of her place between the sorrows her mother could not speak and the unknowns her daughter must face; and above all a heart-lifting courage in the face of hard death, harder life, and the demon demands of art.
--- Dr. Larry Richman, Editor-Sow's Ear Press
Rita Quillen "shines with truth, even in her darkest lines, and what she says is as true as the world's unceasing breath....Never forget these poems."