Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Gift: Can You Compare?

Weighing Things

Who is worth more? Her or me? You or him?

These kinds of questions are extremely stressful to consider and virtually impossible to answer says Lewis Hyde in The Gift, because "we tend not to assign comparative values to those things to which we are emotionally connected." It is why things with market value must be "detachable or alienable" so they "can be put on the scale and compared."

This reminds me of a poem I once read, from a mother's point of view, in famine time. She's trying to decide which child to give food to. Should it be Sonya who is weak and small, or the eldest boy who has a fighting chance, and so on. Reading that poem was a pivotal experience for me, causing me to make some permanent alterations in my lifestyle, as I considered the role of global forces in the lives of mothers and fathers around the world.

If a gift economy is what enables us to feel deeply connected to others, so that we find it more difficult to assign greater or lesser value to certain people, what does this mean in a world that increasingly functions at the level of "market exchange" rather than "gift exchange"?

I don't have any great answers to that question. But I do have a giving-poem. And it seems I'm still stuck in the kitchen. Which gives me an idea for our next prompt, or series of prompts: let's begin in the kitchen (since that's where I am) and trace our homes in poetry; next week we can choose a different room.

Simply describe the kitchen, or choose a particular item, the way I chose a broom last week and a cup this week. Post your poem by Thursday July 30, for possible feature and definite links at High Calling Blogs. Leave your link here in my comment box.


I am just
a simple cup
on counter
bare scrubbed
scoured of day’s
too sour lemonade,
catsup fingerprints
hints of cream
loss of dreams
in coffee sipped,
dripped past
crumbs ‘til day
is numb with
stars. Pick me
up, sweep into
me the dregs
of play. That’s
what I’m for
when empty

Doll Photo by Sara B. Used with permission.

High Calling Blogs RAP: Emotion's in the Details
LL’s Longing
Sara’s Universe
Jennifer’s Thin Place
Claire’s Boxed Being
Cindy’s In Our Mind’s Eye
Jim’s Hot Summer Night
Milton’s It’s Just the Way My Mind Works
Dave’s The Cold Season
Monica's Leather Bible Cover
Deb's Orange Glow
Lance's Equation

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Blogger Sarah said...

So bittersweet . . . or maybe I'm just melancholy today. Thank you.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Sam Van Eman said...

Good stuff here. Link to the famine poem? Pretty please...

6:19 PM  
Anonymous nancy said...

i like the word "cup".

a lot goes on at the kitchen counter! things start to collect there. around the clear they are nudging in to see some big show.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Challenging post, L.L. Thanks.

And another nice poem. You have good poetry muscles, or a mind for it, to be sure.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I just finished meandering around the kitchen of my mind.

Here you go:

11:19 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thought-provoking questions. And the poem you describe? A mother choosing...this disturbs those deepest of places.

The detachment we speak of breeds inaction, and yet, the cure requires stepping out of this complacency--moving forward in unfeeling until light floods over and warms those cold places.

You always inspire.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Lance said...

It runneth over...

11:26 AM  
Blogger sojourner said...

I like this:
"sweep into
me the dregs
of play"
what I’m for
when empty
This poem made me think of how important it is to be myself no matter how simple I might be. If I am able to do that, all the mess that surrounds me and all the mess that is within me will not bring me down. I will be free (empty) to enjoy......

1:51 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

L.L., wanted to say that I love your poetry prompts even if I'm not participating. It'd be good for me to take on the challenge as a discipline, but I'm having too much fun being lazy and carefree and simply writing whatever tickles my funny bone. So, I don't have anything for this week's theme. Again. But I enjoy reading the products you and others leave for the world's pleasure. :)

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh... I love the Barbi picture! How cool of an idea was that?!?

I had to do mine on a cup as well... an overused subject I know, but you have give those cups some creedance!

2:44 AM  
Blogger Prairie Chick said...

Hello my friend of beautiful thoughts and words. I have been reading and pondering, if not commenting and contributing. But this post birthed a poem in me.

Although I have not joined the community, I come when I come and give what I can and am blessed always.

(((prairie love, the widest there is)))

My Kitchen Window
(window on my world, window into my soul)

12:50 PM  
Blogger elk said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:05 PM  
Blogger Tea With Tiffany said...

Cups. They bring me such comfort as I relax almost every morning with a warm drink and a good book.

I don't know how to write poems. :) But you sure do.

12:09 AM  
Anonymous E L K said...

i am here with my offering...
seven thirty

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Suzy said...

These words just encapsualte such an ordinary yet sublime moment, brought out into relief from the poem as a whole, they seem to convey the deep of everyday work to be a part of the joy of life as a whole.

"Pick me
up, sweep into
me the dregs
of play."

What a wonderful personification.

Well, anyway, here is my dish for Thursday's kitchen table. A few leftovers made into a new meal metephorically speaking of course;)

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Suzy said...

Sorry that should read...
"they seem to convey the deep longing of everyday work to be a part of the joy of life as a whole"

That'll teach me to type one handed with a squirming two year old on my lap hehe :)

4:29 PM  
Blogger jim schmotzer said...

here's my new effort -

5:37 PM  
Blogger mom2six said...

"I am just" - Made me think how good to simply know what one is created for. I have two poetry from last week I didn't get around to letting you know about and one from this weeks prompt. But both with the same theme.

Thanks for the inspiration.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Claire said...

Your poem has taken a seat beside me this morning. It is somehow silently screaming at me in a really calming way.

Here is my offering for this week:

5:12 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

As always,L.L., I enjoyed your poem and your poetry prompt. I played with it a bit today and wondered what it might be like if I were my kitchen. LOL!

4:10 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

Thanks for the kitchen prompt. Here it is:

4:14 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I wrote about the led me to a place that surprised me.

Does that happen to you? Does the poem lead?

5:39 PM  

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