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Daily Deviation
Daily Deviation
July 30, 2021
Home by callerofcrows
I think this poem is wonderfully constructed and explores an ordinary aspect of our everyday lives in a unique and beautiful way.
Featured by Evangeline40003
Suggested by CouchSessions

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Literature Text

First inhalations past the threshold,

wordless perfume somewhere

between dust,

sunlight blooming floral

in an open mouth,

and linen.

My grandfather said

his first action home

after slipping the tired strap

of his travel-bag off his shoulders

was to kiss the coverlet of his bed,

and at eight I couldn't comprehend.

Now I understand

it is prayer and apology

for wanderlust,

infidelity to spaces we

so often take for granted.

I cannot steal his ritual,

so mine lingers in breath instead--

I refuse to breathe until I open the door,

until I hunger for home,

and home becomes my lungs again.

I breathe around the word like wine,

lips closing around the syllable,

a spoonful of shepherd's pie.

I am the sommelier of journey's end;

it is never the same bouquet twice.

Sometimes the rice has gone bad in the fridge,

overpowering the ghost of lavender;

Sometimes three o'clock warms old candle wax,

leaving notes of peony and laughter.

I savor all the same.

I wonder if the doorframe, too,

refuses air when my fingers brush the lock,

wondering what notes she will find

when she welcomes me again.

Sometimes I take poetic license, but I don't think I've ever written a more truthful poem in my life. I do this every time I return home from anywhere--even taking the dog out for a few moments. It's become a habit. It's the most meaningful, though, when I've been away for a day or more. It's not always pleasant, (that rice mention was awful lemme tell ya,) but underneath the new smells are always older ones that defy description, and they are ageless and comforting in a way that I think everyone understands but can't quite place.
© 2021 callerofcrows
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wordeea's avatar

This is lovely. Congratulations on your DD!

I particularly like this:

"I breathe around the word like wine,

lips closing around the syllable,

a spoonful of shepherd's pie.

I am the sommelier of journey's end;"

very evocative

somestrangebirds's avatar

Hi. Congratulations on the daily deviation.

I think this is decent writing. If you were to work on it, I'd suggest some compression. Some lines land a little flat, often the ones with narrative intrusion/first-person comment. 'Until I hunger for home...lungs again' for example, doesn't quite hit the mark (feeling a little overwritten and redundant).

S1 could likewise be lost in its entirety, or its notable features (for me, more or less just the dust and linen and sunlight [though not the latter's current construction]) shuffled elsewhere in the poem. Perfume tends to be wordless. Indeed, it feels doubly wrong here -- because here, if not usually elsewhere, the perfume is in fact worded (the poem is written).

Another salient stretch in S5: 'I breathe around the word like wine'. I think the construction here is off, but the idea of wine breathing has merit. What it wants to mean, to unpack it a bit, is more something like: 'I breathe around the word home which itself breathes as wine is said to breathe'. Obviously this isn't my recommendation for a solution, just a paraphrase of what I sense the writing is after (and which seems confirmed by the strophe's final two lines). Likewise, the shepherd's pie disrupts the continuity between this strophe's start and end points. Even though I do like shepherd's pie. But that's a bit besides the point.

S6: I'm not convinced by the rice, which I've never experienced going bad in the fridge to such an extent it can be smelt at the doorway of entering a house. I'd get rid of the last two lines of this strophe. 'Peony and laughter' is too saccharine for my tastes (next to the rather nice warming of old candle wax in mid afternoon sunlight). The whole poem is savouring smells, so that doesn't need to be said at the end.

I didn't really intend to write a semi-real critique. But here we are now.

The denouement is a bit confusing at first, probably because of the engendered doorframe. I'd stick with the neuter 'it' if you keep this ending.

I'm happy to see a pretty convincing piece of work selected for DD. Kudos.

LindArtz's avatar

This goes right to the heart. :heart: So very beautiful,.. and relatable.

Congrats on your much Deserved, DD! :clap:

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CouchSessions's avatar

This is absolutely gorgeous and so well constructed. I usually am not a fan of the tactic using a series of abstract images to open a poem, but it works so well here because you immediately dive into something more tangible with your grandfather's ritual, then expand beautifully to describe your own. And the closing stanza is dynamite. Excellent, excellent work! What a joy to read! Thank you for sharing.

onthemoonpoetry's avatar

Such a lovely and comforting piece. Love the anecdotal imagery and tone of this piece. Great work!