My Gift to You
Happy to share my poem “Bar of Soap” with you! It’s a prose poem, and it landed in the first edition of inScribe: Journal of Creative Writing, a publication from South Australia. Their inaugural theme was Gift—the idea that life is properly regarded as a gift.
Many of you may have never heard of such an animal. Why a prose poem? Why not? It’s an option. I like so many types of poetry. Sort of kin to liking Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Jews, or liking iris, daffodils, garden phlox.
Russell Edson describes the experience of creating a prose poem. "To find a prose free of the self-consciousness of poetry; a prose more compact than the storyteller's; a prose removed from the formalities of literature.... What we want is a poetry of miracles—minus the 'I' of ecstasy! A poem that as many people who read it each reads a different poem. A poetry freed from its time. a poetry that engages the Creation, which we believe is still in process...."
Prose poems fly, maybe because of the poets who write them. They give insight and bliss or make me laugh like other poetry. Is it a poem in a paragraph or a paragraph in a poem? I don’t know. I am just happy they exist under whatever labels they might occur.
I think maybe the prose poem fits into the pandemic world or science fiction world easily. But then, so does free verse, my favorite.
Here we go!
Bar of Soap
by PAT DURMON
A thank-you gift. It came in the mail along with
a charming card, potholder, and book of poems.
It’s something I’d buy—soap smelling of
honeysuckle, made from goats’ milk. Humble
kindness. Sent to us by goat herders in
Washington State, where I’ve never traveled.
The soap scent reminds me of days when my
husband and I pulled honeysuckle vines then
sucked the heart, the sweetness, out of them.
This bar of soap, left by the mailman a month
ago, came from a couple who’d visited our
valley to celebrate the life of their beloved
friend. That week comes back to me as I rub
wet hands against the grainy bar as I go on
shaping a smooth dip in the bar, watching it
take on the shape of a boat. It’s love, though it
feels like grit mixed with silk.
The couple only stayed a few days in our little cabin on the river, but it was as if they’d known me for years. They knew what pulled me.
The gifts were individually wrapped, and they expected nothing in return—making the box a true gift.
Life is a gift, and there are countless gifts in our lives that come without wrappings. The recognition of a bird is like receiving a gift. It’s a way to affirm life when we say, “Oh, look! Do you see that toad?”
My best as you recognize the many gifts around you and inside you.
P.S. If any of my softcover books linked below fit for you as a gift for someone, they are available on amazon.com or you can send me a note. I can receive checks and mail books.
Soap really does make a great gift! Photograph by Alathea Daniels, April 2021.
Books by Pat Durmon