Saturday, April 14, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 13: Watched Pots And Rattle-Bones

Prompt: Write a poem in which the words or meaning of a familiar phrase get up-ended. 

Apparently the gods of writing have decided that the prompts for this week must be designed to make me pull my hair out in handfuls. While this may be a subtle way of helping me thin a very thick thatch of hair sans hair stylist, it doesn't do much for my peace of mind (or the floor. Hardwood floors and hair are just argh.)

And whenever I have no peace of mind? I do manic research, in the hopes that something will spark something will start a small fire in the brain. I came across the mention of rattle-bones, two pieces of bone or ivory held between the fingers of each hand and rattled in accompaniment to banjos or other instruments. 

Rattle-bones = keeping time = watches.

So this is my somewhat disgruntled take on the famous watched pots wot never boil, with a salute to the immortal Langston Hughes at the end.


A watched pot never boils.

A watched pot is full of watches bubbling
Like glass beads in boiling water.
A watched pot is surrounded by watchers watching
Watches telling time, watches strung like rattle-bones behind deadshot
Eyes, eyes, eyes watching time ticking on watch faces
Tick tick tick, little ticks and twitches of nerves
Razor-fraught by too much pressure, too many hopes, too many
Expectations, too many eyes watching too much
Time, time, time.

A watched pot never boils.
It explodes.


Anonymous said...

lol, i like it! a pressure cooker

Shuku said...

Hi Erbiage, thank you so much! Yes, a pressure cooker! Powered by watches no less...

Jane Dougherty said...

There's a manic feel to this one that leads up quite naturally explosion!

Shuku said...

Thank you Jane! That's actually exactly what was going through my mind. Some students of mine came to mind too - who were so stressed out it felt like I could just look at them and they'd explode from the pressure of one extra pair of eyes watching them...

Smitha said...

Fun poem...a watched pot never boils. It explodes. Ha ha. Mine fizzles as I stand watching...the lid's never shut right and my eyes are open but my mind's dreaming. Pressure cookers and their lids :) Enjoyed reading it.

Shuku said...

Thank you Smitha! I'd love some of my metaphorical pots to fizzle rather than explode (I already burned dinner 3 days ago whoops).