Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tuesday Poem - Eggs

   for Penelope and Raymond

Our neighbours carry eggs across the hedge
on birthdays; one egg wrapped in lemon tissue 
paper with crimson spirals and a raffia twist; 
two in a navy-blue nest with floral wallpaper,
the date inscribed on blunt horizons in gold; 
once there were six, mismatched, 
in a plain beige egg box. 

I know the chooks by name; they wake me
in the morning, help keep our weeds down
and on adventurous days stray beyond 
the grass to the driveway where they find 
the tyres on our car fascinating. I admire
their dismissive attitude towards our cats. 
They strut and cluck and at end of each day
lay eggs the colours of my children's skin - 
a grand and fragile achievement. 


Given the uncertain world our friends in Christchurch - considered by many to be the heart centre of our country - are waking to these mornings, I didn't know what to choose for TP today. In the end I settled on this simple poem that speaks in plainest terms of the gift of community; of neighbourly exchange, love expressed in small gestures of kindness, the miracle of ordinary, everyday things. 


For more Tuesday Poems, please visit the hub where poet Zireaux has posted a marvelous 'journey' titled The Poet as Absent-minded Neuroscientist: The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin & Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov. 


  1. Fabulous last line - the stuff of life in an 'eggshell' - thank you Claire... and haven't we had our stuffing knocked out by the earthquake? Tuesday Poem feels quiet this week. Very few comments. Little conversation...Poems that feel they have to justify themselves - yours, mine too...

  2. Love it. I'm forging a relationship with nine hens on the farm where I'm staying; they run to see what treasures you've brought them, and remain polite about all the offerings. And yes, this earthquake's a time to remember and treasure community - at which NZers excel.

  3. Everyday images help restore us to a sense of the ordinary, yet the fragility of eggshells reminds us the veil is thin. It seemed just the right tone for the time.

  4. lovely, the chickens, the eggs, the friendship and the thoughtful presentation... a perfect egg of a poem

  5. Sure beats USA salmonella-infected eggs that are now making big news!

    Yours for cage free--for chickens and humans,

  6. It all reads so naturally and unforced. Great sounds. Good definition of your craft in the poem: "a grand and fragile achievement." Good one!

  7. lay eggs the colours of my children's skin

    I am grateful that I can always come here and find something luminous and rare.


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  9. I carried the image of "one egg wrapped in lemon tissue paper" with me for an entire day.

    Ah, we live in a fragile world, but nonetheless we endure.

    Thank you for this, Claire!