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Eat with Me

by hailfabio 

Posted: 28 June 2007
Word Count: 69
Summary: Not sure this works?

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Think I'll use
the special china tonight.
This plate,
it's so pretty - the pattern
round the edge.
Doesn't hide
the scratches,
the cracks,
littering an uncomfortable surface.
Sometimes its hot.
Sometimes cold.
Not hiding, but not in the open,
waiting in darkness for the next meal
that always passes
oh so quickly. The crumbs.
Hold on to the crumbs.
But boiling water
washes the memory away.

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 22:08 on 28 June 2007  Report this post
Enigmatic...not sure yet what the plate represents. But I'll 'digest' and get back to you.


joanie at 10:23 on 29 June 2007  Report this post
I'm finding this difficult, Stephen. My immediate impression is that you need to get rid of the last two lines, but I think it could be made a bit clearer generally.

I wasn't sure about uncomfortable surface.

It seems that there are some good ideas here; perhaps you should try to make them more apparent. Like James, I'm not sure what the plate represents. (However, I'm often a bit thick with this sort of thing!)


hailfabio at 11:21 on 30 June 2007  Report this post
I was trying to get the plate to represent a person, was thinking about the idea of when people feel they are unloved, untouched, unkissed - not in the swim. Which is a common thought when unhappy or depressed by something.

Joanie, i don't like the last two lines either, i didn't like them when i wrote them.

Uncomfortable surface - I was thinking about an awkwardness in contact or closeness.


James Graham at 14:56 on 01 July 2007  Report this post
Hi Stephen, your new poem has given up its secrets to me...I think. This is a cryptic poem - a riddle. Of course it's not just about a plate, it's about a person. Well, here's a solution to the riddle.

Sometimes we look at inanimate objects - an inlaid box, an ornament, a plate - especially those that belong to us, and we reflect that they will be there when we've gone. The folk of older generations have already gone, and we have some of their possessions - 'heirlooms' - which survive them by a long, long time. Your last two lines say to me that if this non-living plate were a living human being, it would not be whole. It would be 'broken', as human beings are 'broken' - perhaps in the sense of broken in health, or in the sense of 'heart-broken'. Living things are so much less durable than inanimate objects.

There are things about this plate that point to persons, especially those who are pretty 'round the edge' but flawed underneath. And there are those who are, in various senses, sometimes 'hot' and sometimes 'cold'. I'm unsure about a human interpretation of 'Not many have eaten here, food tends to/ slip off'.

It would be really interesting to know if you meant anything like this. It may be nothing like what you meant - but if not, would you be quite happy if someone else thought it meant that?


P.S. As I was posting this, I noticed your comment. Maybe I'm not too far out? The idea of the plate representing a person 'not in the swim' helps to explain some more details of the poem. It's not an easy poem, but there's definitely an idea there.

hailfabio at 15:31 on 03 July 2007  Report this post
Yes you spotted it James, I tried to capture an idea here - I think I half got it. In the way we assume that objects like plates don't have feelings (well we know they don't) but sometimes we assume people don't have feelings or are happy when they're not - that's the kind of thing I was getting at here.

Food slips off - Kind off like when you have a relationship or someone's attention and it tends to slip away.



hailfabio at 15:41 on 03 July 2007  Report this post
What you think now?

James Graham at 22:16 on 04 July 2007  Report this post
For me everything from the 6th line to the end is fine, the last lines improved a lot with 'waiting in darkness', the new way of talking about the crumbs, and the new idea about boiling water. Especially those last lines, which do away with the need for your original last lines. They're less direct and more suggestive, but they make the human symbolism of the plate just as clear, and in a more interesting way.

In the opening lines I think you should go back to talking about the pretty pattern round the edge. 'Behold its beauty' sounds old-fashioned and a bit over the top. I'm not sure myself about the second line, why the size of the plate is so important.

There's a plate.
It has a pretty pattern
round the edge
but that doesn't hide
the scratches

- those lines seem to fit like jigsaw pieces, they just follow naturally one after the other.

Another thought - I wonder if somehow we could be more aware of the poem's speaker actually sitting down, alone, to eat from this plate? Some such opening lines as 'There's a table,/ and me,/ and a plate'. 'I sit down yet again/
with my plate'. Something like that could make the connection between the plate and the person even clearer, by putting it in a context.


Okkervil at 14:58 on 12 July 2007  Report this post
I think this works fine, now. I'm aware I'm coming to it a little late, and so have missed previous incarnations, but this version seems very clear. The enigmatic tone of a riddle gives enough away by the end to make perfect sense. The idea of the 'best china' feeling neglected as a result of the value put upon it is intriguing.
I still think it could benefit from tidying (I wondered if 'though' was a little in the wrong place) but as the story is strong, there's not lots to worry about. It's original, I really enjoyed it.

hailfabio at 15:08 on 12 July 2007  Report this post
Thanks for commenting.

Glad its clearer now, and I'm glad you found it origional as much of my work is unintentionally recycled ideas.

Yes I think 'though' is out of place too.


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