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Green Shoots, Pineapple Puffs and Guan Yin

by notanodalisque 

Posted: 19 October 2009
Word Count: 148
Summary: I haven't written poetry in years. Three attempts which I would like to improve, if possible. Comments very welcome!

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Green Shoots

I hear there are green shoots.
Did you expect yellow seedlings
Left too long in the airing cupboard?
No, your outdoor green means
The snails might get them.

Tell me about your green shoots
While I pray to pay
The gas bill.

Pineapple Puffs

I have a vision of myself fitting
Into a one bed flat
And one sexy pair of jeans.

But you folded your letters into origami hearts,
Rinsed the crumbs from a jar,
And put them inside.

I think I preferred the pineapple puffs
Which dwelt there before.
Your letters weigh me down
And lead to biscuits.

Guan Yin

They amputated your arms.
They melded your remaining palms together,
Like labia lips of an horrific mutilation.

I knew you tall and proud.
I tried to reach your armpits from rickety temple attics.
I couldn’t count your hands.

In miniature
I hardly know you.

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Comments by other Members

jim60 at 12:48 on 20 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Nicola, you don't specify what comments you'd like so, here I go and first off let me say that I don't really read poetry, but as you were good enough to put it up, I have done so.

Green Shoots. Not quite sure what was going on here, I've most probably missed something, I kind of got lost in between the snails and paying the gas bill.

Pineapple puffs. This one I liked, amusing and I saw the person reading the leters and scoffing on biscuits.

Guan Yin. Now, this one, the first thing I thought of after reading it was something doll, or doll like. I don't know what 'Guan Yin' is, but it was a little weird.

Thanks for putting them up, don't let my comments put you off at all, it's great that there is a such a variety in our writing. very good and thought provoking.

StephB at 16:39 on 22 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Nicola,

I know nothing about poetry so can't offer any particularly helpful comments!!

I'm afraid I didn't understand Green Shoots or Guan Yin and would be interested if you could explain a little?

Pineapple Puffs I really did enjoy though - I read it through a few times and strangely enjoyed it even more with a little familiarity.


NicciF at 08:00 on 23 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Nicola

Not a group member yet, but about to change that. I saw you'd posted this a few days ago so I dropped in to have a read. Hope you don't mind.

I'm not a poetry expert - I'm one of the newer/less eperienced members of the poetry group, and only just finding my way/feet.

I like the Green Shoots. We hear so much about the green shoots of recover that this seemed very topical.

Did you expect yellow seedlings
Left too long in the airing cupboard?

This confused me a little to begin with and then I took an enourmous leap in interpretation.

Yellow seedlings sound unhealthy, something that needs nurturing but it has been neglected.

your outdoor green means
The snails might get them.

This also speaks to me of neglect.

To me this poem says the Government is doing a lot of talking about the green shoots of recovery, but not a lot is actually being done.

and while they talk, and do nothing, the ordinary person has to survive.

Tell me about your green shoots
While I pray to pay
The gas bill.

If my interpretation isn't totally off the wall, then this is a great little poem addressing one of the major concerns in the world today, without getting to heavy about it.

Of course I could be talking absolute **** and it's about the problems you're having growing things in your garden.

I'd be interested to hear which is nearer the truth.

I'll have to come back to the other two poems when I have more time. I dropped in to the group for a specific reason and I got side tracked. Slapped wrists.


notanodalisque at 12:58 on 27 October 2009  Report this post
Thank you all for your comments. Nicci, your interpretation of 'Green Shoots' is exactly right, and I was very glad to discover that someone got it! I obviously have a problem with opacity. Guan Yin is the name of a Buddhist bodhisattva, and the poem is about a necklace I have, in which she is represented on the pendant. I was trying to contrast the pendant with a five story statue of Guan Yin I saw in a temple. It clearly didn't work!

Thank you all for making an effort with this, and for being nice about 'Pineapple Puffs'.


jim60 at 13:47 on 27 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Nicola, See, I told you I'm a little dense. I think Nicci's the brains of the outfit, don't know where I left mine.
Thank you for explaining what 'Guan Yin' is. I don't suppose I was too far off what I was thinking.

NicciF at 15:08 on 27 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Nicola

Thanks for explaining more about Guan Yin - it's not something I've come across before. Now that I've a little more knowledge I'll go back to the poem and have another look. Can't at the moment as only a few minutes more before I must get back outside picking up walnuts.

I'm glad I was on the right tracks about "Green Shoots", although I do have a confession to make. The reason why I thought I might be on the right track was a conversation I'd had the previous week. I had lunch with a group of ExPats and we were talking about the situation back in the UK. We came to the conclusion that all the government is doing is talking about the green shoots of recovery when in fact it's all a load of b*******.

I think Nicci's the brains of the outfit,

If this is the case there's no hope, as I have the brain power of a goldfish at the moment.


NicciF at 12:59 on 31 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Nicola

Sorry about the delay in commenting on your other 2 poems.

I found "Green Shoots" easier to comment on becuase you refer to a phrase that is frequently bandied about by politicians and the media. This gave me a starting point that I could work from. The other 2 poems are of a more personal nature and are missing the background info that would open them up to a wider interpration.

In Pineappel Puffs I was left with a number of unanswered questions. Why does the poet prefer puffs to crumb? Who is the man? What is the significance of the Origami hearts? Are they literally letters folded like that, or is it a reference to the hollow nature of the letters?

Guan Yin is less personal but requires more knowledge. In order for the poem to work the reader needs to know more of the story behind it. The reader would need to become an expert in Buddhism, all they need a little more help to understand what you're trying to convey. Perhaps something about where you saw the statue, where the pendent came from, and something about Guan Yin. A bit about the mystery that surounds her, or why you were drawn to her wisdom.

Both of these poems are based on interesting subjects or thoughts. They simply need a little more work to open their meaning up to a wider audience. Obviously you don't want to end up with "One day I went to a temple and I saw a statue of..." Poetry can afford to be more oscure than that, however, the reader does need a little assistence so they know they're on the right track.

I hope that this helps.


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