“This is how to measure Crisco in a cup,”
my grandma said when she was fifty-five

and I was eight years old and learning
how to make and bake a perfect apple pie.

“A cup of water to the half will rise to full
as soon as fat to half is added in.”

She never went to high school, never
heard of Archimedes or his Principle.

Still, that good idea had floated up
to her among the nameless proven wonders

come from somewhere long ago to grace
our days.  These, simply, were the given ways.

Later, when so many books and other teachers
took my grandma’s place, and time took her

to be with Archimedes, I forgot almost
as much as I had ever learned.  But not

her eyes, lifted toward the window light,
her measuring pyrex cup raised for a squinted

sight of how much water was displaced.  Nor
the satisfaction on her sweet, gone face.

6 responses »

    • I think you are re-reading this, John. Or am I guessing wrong? Anyway, it has been appearing on my stats page and appeared at a very auspicious moment, as if distant minds were on the same wave-length, when I was trying to decide whether or not to commit to serious study of the Archimedes Palimpsest Project with my new poetry series in mind. Strange.

      • Yes, I have been rereading this. I like the charm, I recognise memories of long-deceased grandparents, and also the contrasting ways of knowing the world. The form and style interest me too: hints of Elizabeth Bishop & later Robert Lowell but with more internal rhyme.
        I would be very interested to see your new Archimedes project in due course Cynthia. I wonder what you have in mind. The Fra Pennafolio poem is a beautiful trailer.

        • I’ve watched how you dealt with your Silk Road series and admire your careful way. What I need to do next is to slow down, back-off of the blogosphere a bit, and take time. There’s such a thing as talking-away an idea while it is still rough jotting, brilliant (hah!) fragments, and wannabe poems. It’s great to know of your interest and support, and I will keep you posted on progress. Thanks so much, John.

  1. Cynthia, yes, take all the time you want. I sense that you have found a potentially rich seam to mine so long as you don’t feel rushed. You have experience to draw on that others do not, and a deal of reflection on that.
    (I took 12 months over my Silk Road poems.)

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