Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Slow Cooker Poetry

Sometimes, writing a poem is exactly like cooking with a slow cooker.

I wanted to write a poem for Candlemas, which falls on the 2nd of February and will be celebrated on Sunday.  I already knew the story: Luke 2: 22-40, in which Christ is presented at the temple and prophesied over by Simeon and Anna, including the Nunc Dimittis prayer (Lord, now let your servant depart in peace) which I associate mainly with evening services in Christ's College chapel, and a certain Taize chant.  Simeon goes off to die, joyfully and peacefully, while Mary is left pondering her newborn son's death, and the idea that a sword will pierce her own heart too.

So much for meat, a main ingredient, tasty but familiar and rather boring by itself.

I thought I would do some more research, so I turned to good old Wikipedia (correct 70% of the time since 2001) where I found the following ingredients:
  • Candlemas has to do with purity: the Virgin was being purified 40 days after giving birth.
  • It is also associated with pre-Christian customs such as jumping through fire in order to be purified before conceiving.
  • In Poland, it is called (loosely translated) "The Holiday of the Mother of God and of Thunder".
  • Traditionally, candles were blessed in churches and given out to families, who used them to put lights in their windows during storms.
  • The Gospel reading set for this Sunday if Candlemas is not being celebrated is the calming of the storm.
  • Candlemas is traditionally the last day of the cold winter, but only if it rains on that day.  If it's sunny, winter will go on for another six weeks.
Having written all those ingredients down, and stirred them for a while, I poured two more stories into the mix: Jesus walking on the water, and Noah's Ark.  I wanted to include Moses in the Bullrushes as well, but there was no room in the pot.

Then I switched the slow cooker on, and left it for a while.  Sure enough, when I came back to it, there was a poem: each ingredient had shared its flavour with the rest, and found a common language to unite the whole.

The only problem with slow cooker poetry is that sometimes I worry that the ingredients have all become so mushy and indistinguishable that nobody will be able to work out what any of them are or where they came from.

Perhaps it has to do with how long I leave it in the pot?

On the other hand, perhaps that is where the analogy breaks down...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm always in awe of poetry as I don't write it myself. I did think your slow cooker anolgy has worked well as it is a ponderful poem...and that is great. I love things to ponder upon...