Today’s poem is “Dishpan" by Jacqueline Moore, who taught English Literature in Britain in the 1950s and 60s and has been writing poetry since the 1970s. The poem is from her collection Living Tilted published in 2016.
The book, she writes, is “celebrating an old way of life in an ancient house in a Maine forest, now called ‘living off-the-grid’. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, no running water, no solar panels. Time is slow, chores rule the day. I learned the techniques of survival as a child from my aunt during the Great Depression, and later from those who still remembered the old ways. At the age of 90 I still can manage, although with difficulty, and I escape to Portland during the winter.”
by Jacqueline Moore
With a hole punched in its rim
for hanging on a nail under the sink,
this pan knew its place.
One time Auntie hurled it
full of soap and dinner plates
at Uncle for reading The Sunday Times
instead of chopping wood.
Notched and pock-marked
and bent out of shape, it hid
broken plates in a blueberry patch
for half a century.
Redeemed by rain
and polished by the sun,
it took pride of place as if hammered
by the best silversmith in Toledo.
I rescued Auntie’s pan
leaking sun over my kitchen floor
and my days, shorter each year.
I am the last woman in this house.
Poem copyright © 2016 Jacqueline Moore.
Reprinted from Living Tilted,
Maine Authors Publishing, 2016,
by permission of Jacqueline Moore.