Thursday, August 19, 2010

ritual

I sit in a summer tub and remember
baths shared with my mother,
how she plugged the overflow leak,
washcloth wrapped terry-turban,
around the face of the steel drain,

the feel of her long, lean, unshaven legs
pricking my smooth pink underbelly,
the bitter-clean taste of no-tear shampoo
and the simple metallic brine of a baptism
in hard water.





Tess Kincaid
August, 2010



Join the fun at Magpie Tales creative writing blog.

115 comments:

  1. fabulous memories dear, loved it :)

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  2. Wonderful memory.
    The baths in Ireland are lovely; very very deep and long. My father loves them (he's six feet even). The only trouble is getting out, it's a long way down ;)
    He used to play a game with me, called Sponge Pals. We'd cut up the kitchen sponges and pretend they were people. A little like dolls, but waterproof. Some were half a sponge, and some were a whole sponge...

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  3. This is wonderful. That sounds like Johnsons Baby shampoo, you got the taste just right! And the sentence -
    "The brine of a baptism in hard water".
    I love your use of language, the way your poem feels on the tongue -the feel of her long, lean, unshaven legs pricking -
    I find this poem empowering and beautifully symbolic.

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  4. Dear Willow, I have never embraced showering-always preferring the decadence of a long hot soak in a deep bath. Nowadays I have to climb in via a stepping stool!!

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  5. Really like that image. I can smell that shampoo. Great smell. I don't ever remember bathing with my mother nor having my daughter in the tub with me but giving her a bath is a treasured memory indeed.

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  6. I used to take baths with my brother - before we got old enough to think it was strange. I was maybe 5 & he was 3 1/2 when we stopped. I mostly remember splashing each other & having a grand old time. Sometimes my favorite cousins would join us if she was staying the night - what a handful for my mom to corral!

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  7. A special memory, Willow. It's great to see our three granddaughters sharing bath time. They have such fun and we get such a soaking!

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  8. Love the picture, and your memories.

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  9. wonderful verse willow...i still like a good soak every once in a while...and remember those days fondly as a child...

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  10. I have no such memory, and it sounds incredibly bonding. Lucky you.

    I do love me a bath.

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  11. Willow,
    Simple pleasures abound in the mental bank where memories are stored.
    rel

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  12. Nice memories.

    When I was a child we used to have a bath that tipped up and stood in a cupboard, taps and all. lol

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  13. willow - superb! the bathtime memories of childhood are among the most exquisite my children will carry with them into adulthood and their own families. thankyou so much for shaping and sharing yours here,

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  14. This is one of the best of your poems I've read, Willow. Simply wonderful. The imagery and the description, both are transporting and so vivid. This is such a marvellous and moving memory, and the final stanza is quite brilliant.

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  15. What a fond recollection. Baths absolutely triumph over showers anyday.

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  16. ...now the only 'kid' i bathe is my Toby...and that furry little wagger gets me alllll wet

    great poetics!

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  17. Gorgeous, elegant piece, Willow, I remember the shampoo too, lovely poem.

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  18. Willow....this is so beautiful.... it made me cry...(in a good way).... I am STILL a bath girl....love the calming ritual of the scented water, the bubbles, some lovely music and from time-to-time a glass of wine. (Oh, and candles burning in the Winter...)

    Love,

    ♥ Robin ♥ (Who experienced almost a FULL DAY of sunshine and mild temperatures today!)

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  19. How lovely that you can transform such an everyday task into such a masterpiece. I have showered with my daughters and they become little slippery seals!!!

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  20. Oh, she knows. And if you don't wash behind your ears, she's gonna put your head under the water!

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  21. wonderful image, the mother and child in the bath. The memories. The closeness. You describe textures and smells so well.

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  22. Beautiful photo and words. -- barbara

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  23. What a lovely mother-daughter memory, wonderful to have. Beautifully written.

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  24. Oh Willow! The last line of this one gave me goosebumps!
    This is a breathtaking poem!
    I love it!!!! :-)

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  25. Thanks for this lovely poem. I too am a drain plugger and have many memories as the mother in the tub with a daughter [even into the teen years] not in the tub with me but on the bathmat beside me -- a time to share what could not be shared in a less intimate situation.

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  26. Dear Willow: A fond dialetic poem conveyed full of a deep and personal memory. Indelible describion with fine nuance and detail. My favourite line;

    "Does she know the unique shrine she occupies in the temple of my memory?"

    Indeed most mom's understand this adolation, as they have felt the same way for their mothers, and so on and so forth, down the matrilineal lines for generations.

    Willow; it is so wonderful to know the simple recollections are the best. Thank-you for reminding me.

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  27. What a lovely memory! I'm afraid mine is less cheery.

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  28. A very unique and special bonding memory! And love that creative photo complementing your words!

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  29. Willow---You and I are alike in the fact that we both love our tubs. I have that claw-foot one that I just could not live without! And, it seems that today, we both speak of altars! It happens again, my friend! We ARE lucky ducks, aren't we!!!

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  30. Lovely, evocative piece, Willow!

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  31. Oh I love this! My daughter and I had many a bath too, but by now we'd need a much bigger tub.

    Beautiful, Willow, very.

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  32. Those plugs were always disappearing, so the stuffing of the wash cloth in the drain brought back memories.

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  33. This is amazing and yes very symbolic. The picture is perfect for it. I enjoyed reading you and thanks for the follow and comments as am following you now too :)

    Wild Rose~

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  34. I never shared a bath with anyone.

    Well, not until I was twenty-one or so...

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  35. Having just this past weekend celebrated my one and only daughter's wedding, this poem is especially poignant.

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  36. Willow that is really beautiful and such a vivid and loving memory.

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  37. So warm and touching. I have a hard time getting out of the tub too since I have artificial knees but all the hard work is worth the great soak.
    QMM

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  38. What an extraordinary reflection on your childhood...and on the power a mother holds over her child, even lifetimes later. I'm afraid The Bug and I took this in a naughtier direction :-D

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  39. A special memory - strange how they gain more value as time goes by. Beautifully written!

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  40. Beautiful poem, the details, the love, your mother, all there.

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  41. Each of your poems is so accessible, Willow, yet so personal. I love this one!

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  42. That made me laugh. Most of my bath-time memories (not necessarily good ones) are of sharing muddy water with a dozen rugby mates. YUK.

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  43. Willow, this is such a sweet memory, it brought tears to my eyes.

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  44. Beautiful poem Willow, and that last verse is outstanding. Could any of us ask for anything more moving to be written about us after we were dead.

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  45. 'Does she know
    the unique shrine
    she occupies
    in the temple
    of my memory?'

    Probably not, so if she is alive, tell her, if not, know she was happy to love you. Beautiful memory... says a few things about you too! LOL.

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  46. fantastic - the picture and your poem - stirred childhood memories..

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  47. Brilliant! I love this poem Willow. Many memories flooding back.

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  48. What a tender piece of writing!

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  49. Wonderful image, imagery, words of total mastery and humanity. Privileged as usual.

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  50. Oh my goodness, Willow...
    This is a scene from my bathroom, my daughters and I ...

    This - makes me cry.

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  51. sensual and poignant

    love the image of a turban on the drain

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  52. Awwww, wonderful post, Willow. How lovely. I think those are the kinds of memories that stay with us the most--those simple, miniscule moments in time with the ones we love.

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  53. This had sixty years of bathrooms flashing through my memories. Love the prompt and your poem held me captive for a long long time. Wonderful piece of writing,

    Elizabeth

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  54. Wonderful bathtub memories written with such imagery. My sister and I always took baths together and at times became wild bathers splashing water all over the walls and floor. This post sure has conjured up so many fun memories.

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  55. My only bath partner was Little Ducky Duddle"... your poem is great... love it! :) The Bach

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  56. I loved "brine of a baptism" and how it was followed up with the internal rhyme of "shrine."

    Hope we meet again! :)

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  57. Great memory! I love it, too. You have selected the "just right words."

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  58. This is excellent! The imagery is vivid and I love the idea of reminiscing. Well done:)

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  59. oh willow....treasured memories

    about the julia cookbook....1900.00

    wow...that is amazing...

    off all my ba-zillion cookbooks julia still is amoung my most favorite...and that chicken recipe was a winner....

    kary

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  60. I dare say she does, Willow. I remember this pic. Nice to see it again teamed with another great poem.

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  61. Derrick, this pic was just itching to be used again. Glad you like it and remembered it. x

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  62. Beautiful. Great memories indeed. :)

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  63. sweet memories.
    lovely done!

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  64. i can hear the faucet dripping, this is so evocative.

    like robin says, i'm still a bathtub girl myself. lots of candles and badedas.....(now called vitabath)

    thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind comments♡

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  65. When I was little, I took a bath with my 2 sisters. Sounds a bit crowded now, but wasn't then. We were all very young at the time : )
    BTW...your faucet always remind me of a combination of a pigs snout and an elephants trunk...maybe a "trout" or a "snunk" : )

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  66. Beautifully expressed very sharp memories of childhood. Certain sounds or scents bring them flooding back.

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  67. Beautifully expressed very sharp memories of childhood. Certain sounds or scents bring them flooding back.

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  68. Cat, that's cute. I like "snunk"! Kind of a snout trunk faucet.

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  69. I showed my daughter your blog because she's thinking of starting her own. She read your poem and said, "Oh, remember when we used to take baths together?" She's 26 now, but your poem caused her to remember when she was 5. Thanks for the memories!

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  70. I have enjoyed some scampering around here...

    Share your taste in music!

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  71. Absolutely gorgeous images and sentiments, Willow!
    Oh the taste of that Johnson's baby shampoo, I never thought of it, but now. So true!

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  72. hello, my friend..yep ...counting the days...

    don't tell anyone but i have cornstalks tied to my lampost already from my garden....i am listening to them rustle in the breeze right now...it's cool here today..well, all summer really...

    (good thing you can't see my house from the street)
    :-{

    kary and teddy
    xxx

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  73. nothing more soothing than a bath with mom

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  74. You hit the nail on the head and alerted all of my senses with the sights, sounds, and tastes of this memory.
    Thanks for the Magpie every week. I've just started and I love them!

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  75. Beautiful piece, beautiful memories. I didn't have quite such lovely bath times in my childhood, mine were more like in Brigid's piece as I was one of six - so your words are even the more beautiful for me.

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  76. Ah yes, but the warm, cuddly, clean feeling after the bath...and the smell of a fresh towel...from the 'Tide' of the sea perhaps.

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  77. Some of my sweetest memories are of soapy little children playing in the tub. I still get to renew those memories several times a week. I wonder are those your toes and how did you keep the camera dry?

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  78. Shari, yes, these are my toes. Kept a towel handy for any stray drips to the camera.

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  79. Wonderful memories etched in this poem!

    -Weasel

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  80. willow,
    no shared experience here. except when my babes were babes

    but the last part ,
    the shrine.
    oh my.
    that gets me.

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  81. fantastic Willow, what a wonderful memory

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  82. ..........On A Lot Of Levels, She Does. A jointly-created memory is a shared memory.Beautiful Writing Willow.

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  83. Oh talented one - this is so beautiful! Brings back lovely memories of kneeling on the bathroom floor, scrubbing slippery little bodies in the bath. I'd quite forgotten how they loved to fashion bubble-bath moustaches on each other. And wrapping them up in big fluffy towels & carrying them into the living room to dry off by the fire. You are very adept at pulling these luscious memories from the depths of my subconscious dear Willow.
    Millie ^_^

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  84. Ahh, so lovely. Seems we have summer on the mind, and certainly the power of memories. This brought back many of my own. Good stuff!

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  85. Comment #93:

    What can I add? Nothing more than my gladness for your continuing work to keep us entertainingly learning.

    God bless you Willow...you are UNIQUE, a berry-berry special Peep!

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  86. What a beautiful captured memory. Seemingly a little part of your day as a child, but weighty as a memory, and tells miles of your relationship with your mother.

    Very lovingly written.

    - Dina

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  87. Lovely Willow. Yeah i remember the wash cloths around pipes and taps. Crikey - bathtime was my favourite part of the day. Since we had a serious drought in recent years (now broken) I haven't given myself permission to have a big hot bath - and that in a new bathroom with a bathtub the size of the
    Queen Mary. I must summon up the courage to indulge myself, despite the risk of destroying the planet.

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  88. What a wonderful memory. The last lines are exquisite.

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  89. Carry us away, borne far upon the wings of memory, to places sweet and sights long lost...a home eternal, forever bound in me.

    Wonderful memories, Willow, and a lovely tribute to your mother. Powerful words to end on: "Does she know the unique shrine she occupies in the temple of my memory?" Exultant. Well writ - it can carry us all away to those simply childhood days, if we so let it.

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  90. Willow my friend, u write a fabulous memory.. One that a lot of us can relate to! :)

    Wonderful take on the image you share with us this week.. and I'm finally free from work to start a Magpie bloghop! You started it off on a great note! :)

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  91. Wonderful memories of childhood and motherhood...the unshaven legs, the no tea shampoo...beautifully captured smells and textures in this pieces...love it..bkm

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  92. I thought i would make this comment an even 100-- being a bath woman myself- with bubbly and the works- good magazine and candle and sometimes popcorn- your words with the image are wonderful

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  93. wonderful, you took me way back to my childhood

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  94. So many of us have memories linked to bath time. Thanks for making me remember a couple of my own.

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  95. What a sweet memory. I hope my kids have nice ones like that!


    http://myscatteredstones.blogspot.com/2010/08/magpie-tales-mag-28.html

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  96. What a beautiful memory. My daughter sits on my lap and if I haven't just shaved my legs she jumps right off and say, "itchy, itchy." I wonder if someday she'll write a poem about it? Lovely blog you have. Looking forward to following it.

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  97. gosh, i love this! You know how i am when it comes to the beautiful marriage of poetry and story.

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  98. Such a lovely way to capture a memory!
    P.S. Two thumbs up on the revamping of Magpie's look!

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  99. Thanks for reminding me of times long gone. I'd forgotten about childhood baths with my mother.

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  100. Lovely word picture, Willow. Vivid and real.

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  101. Thank you so much my friends. Your kind and generous comments are so very encouraging to me. You're the best. xx

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  102. What a beautiful Magpie Tale of such a beautiful memory....vividly described.

    PG

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  103. Of course she does know!!!
    How beautifully you've laid out these memories for us, Willow...
    This was a very nostalgic and lovely read..
    Thanks for sharing it...

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  104. It's often the little things that make the most impression. Loved it.

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  105. This is so incredibly gorgeous and man, you nailed the no-tear shampoo.

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  106. It is the simplest of things that become our greatest most fond memories, thanks for sharing it, it was poetically beautiful!

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)