T.G.I.F.: Perhaps this is the time to take an extra slow sip from a piping mug of coffee

From where I write, the world is a storm of scars and grief, and somehow, of unexpected delight. This mélange isn’t logical. It’s a mystery. But perhaps now is the perfect time for such a thing.

Perhaps this is the time to take an extra slow sip from a piping mug of coffee, to let the steam melt into the waiting face and to savor the way that dark substance can invigorate the body. Perhaps this is the time to gaze at squirrels in the yard, those lucky rodents who don’t seem to realize—or care—that we’ve changed, those chipper squirrels whose routines continue with full gusto despite everything else. Perhaps this is the time to sit with someone you’ve grown accustomed to seeing each day, to stare at their familiar face under familiar light and look for the unfamiliar things that made you love them in the first place.

This is a time when one of the few things we’re certain about is how little certainty there is. We can scramble to find answers and do what we can to act in the midst of these swirling questions and trials, but this can also be a time to pause. Somehow, in the middle of all these current messes, there are still pleasant—even delightful—mysteries to be found. There are friends to check in on (from a distance), there’s astonishment to be shared. There are poems to be read. There is hope to be found, embraced, passed along.

The heavy blanket of fog in the yard has lightened so that it’s no more than a sheet. The baby maple, still alone, stretches up from its cast. Next year, it may be crowned with leaves, and someday, it will give us shade, like the ones who came before it. Somehow, in the midst of everything, it grows stronger each day.

—  Angela Hugunin, from “The Comfort Of A Poem: Reflections on Mary Oliver’s “Mysteries, Yes. ” (cvwritersguild.org, April 7, 2020)


Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Monday Morning Wake Up Call

She felt along the solid green marble of the day for the hairline crack that might let her out. This could not be forced. Outside, the air hung swagged and the clouds sat in piles of couch stuffing, and in the south of the sky there was a tender spot, where a rainbow wanted to happen.

Then three sips of coffee, and a window opened.

Patricia Lockwood, No One Is Talking About This: A Novel (Riverhead Books, February 16, 2021)


Portrait via Esquire: “In the Face of Tragedy, Patricia Lockwood Found the Real World Again. In her first novel, No One Is Talking About This, the poet laureate of Twitter engulfs readers in “internet poisoning”—and memorializes someone she loved and lost.” Lockwood is the author of the acclaimed 2017 memoir, Priestdaddy.

Lightly Child, Lightly.

And I also know a way of life that is soft pride, grace of movement, light and continuous frustration, that has a skill at aloofness that comes from a long and ancient path. Like a tiny sign of revolt an irony light and eccentric. There’s a side of life that’s like drinking coffee on a terrace in winter cold bundled up in wool.

I know a way of life that’s a light shadow unfurled to the wind and flapping lightly on the ground: a life that’s floating shadow, levitation and dreams in broad daylight: I live the richness of the earth.

Clarice Lispector, tr. by Elizabeth Lowe, “The Stream of Life” (Água Viva) 

 


Notes:

inviting them to fan the coffee smoke to smell it

The last word we heard Zememesh Berhe say was “bun,” which means coffee, in Tigrinya, and which stands for so much more that is encompassed in the Eritrean coffee ritual. Green coffee beans are roasted in a long-armed aluminum pot with the onomatopoeic name menkeshkesh, for the sounds the beans make when the person roasting shakes the pan gently, carefully watching for when the oils began to gleam and the beans to brown. Once the beans are roasted to the desired depth of flavor, the roaster takes the pan around the room, beginning with the eldest person present and going to each person, inviting them to fan the coffee smoke to smell it. We gave this job to Solo when he was just old enough to carry the hot pan. Then the beans are spread to cool on a straw mat called mishrafat, then ground and brewed three different times and served in tiny, handle-less china cups called finjal, almost always with sugar and sometimes with warmed milk. I learned to say “tu’um” for delicious. It is considered very rude to leave before “third coffee,” for each stage comes with its own blessing and marks more space for communal chat. How I loved to watch Ficre perform this ritual, and then to see the pride with which our eldest son learned it from his father. Coffee ceremony was the most sacred home ritual there was.

—  Elizabeth Alexander, The Light of the World: A Memoir (Grand Central Publishing, April 21, 2015)


Photo: Benoit Cappronnier, Eritrean Coffee Ceremony, Asmara, Eritrea

Saturday Morning

Back in my room I located some tubes of Nescafé and a small electric pot. I made my own coffee, wrapped myself in a blanket, opened the sliding doors and sat on the little patio facing the sea. There was a low wall partially obstructing the view, but I had my coffee, could hear the waves and was reasonably content.

Patti SmithYear of the Monkey (Alfred A. Knopf, September 24, 2019)

 


Photo: heytess

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

You tell me to live each day
as if it were my last. This is in the kitchen
where before coffee I complain
of the day ahead – that obstacle race
of minutes and hours,
grocery stores and doctors.

But why the last? I ask. Why not
live each day as if it were the first –
all raw astonishment, Eve rubbing
her eyes awake that first morning,
the sun coming up
like an ingénue in the east?

You grind the coffee
with the small roar of a mind
trying to clear itself. I set
the table, glance out the window
where dew has baptized every
living surface.

Linda Pastan, “Imaginary Conversation” from Insomnia: Poems

 


Notes: Poem – Thank you Whiskey River. Photo: (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I start each day by letting in light and doing something for someone I love, in order to do what needs to be done to repair our small part of the world. Then I listen, and that listening becomes the perch from which I chance to see all we are a part of. The day unfolds and I get excited, then annoyed, then confused, and tired. I eat and sleep and do it all over again. When I get tangled in the tasks, it can seem like hell. But when the light illuminates the inside of things, like today, and the coffee is brewed, things go quiet, and there’s nothing else I could ask for.

Mark NepoThings That Join the Sea and the Sky


Notes: Nepo via Make Believe Boutique. Photo: Coffee (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

…wake up at six in the morning to make coffee…stay in bed, curled up under the comforter, hair tangled, skin warm, purring with pleasure.

~ Maylis de Kerangal, The Heart: A Novel


Photo: Barber in Moustache Magazine, Dec 2, 2015 (via mennyfox55)

r u kin?

If I get up now, I can make coffee. I can walk down the stairs, go to the kitchen, and make myself coffee. Maybe sit down and write. I can hear my husband breathing. Our daughter breathing…The dog breathing. If I listen, I can hear cars out on the road, it’s still nighttime, or early morning, it depends on who you are, how you were raised, what experiences you bring to the different times of day, it’s three forty-five now, do you call that morning or night, I call it morning, but too early to get up, I check the time on my cell phone and then I check my messages, I sit up and lie down, a few cars drive past right outside my window, there and there and there, and farther off a gentler stream, cars driving past at night sound different from cars driving past in the daytime. Today is the first of _ _ _ _ _ ….

~ Linn Ullmann, ”Unquiet: A Novel” (W. W. Norton & Company, January 15, 2019)


Photo: Eric Rose

Saturday Morning

I will cut adrift—

I will sit on pavements & drink coffee—

I will dream;

I will take my mind out of its iron cage & let it swim—this fine October.

— Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry c. Wednesday, October 15, 1927


Photo via 8tracks.com

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Let me begin again as a speck
of dust caught in the night winds
sweeping out to sea. Let me begin
this time knowing the world…
is grinding and sighing all night,
and dawn comes slowly…

Philip Levine, from “Let Me Begin Again,” 7 Years from Somewhere: Poems


Source: Mennyfox55

Into the mug of morning pour yourself

Into the mug of morning
pour yourself, warm
and dark, your aromatic
presence hugging the hand-formed
divide between inside and out.
Ease from empty into full
until, brim-level, you
rise an swirl, a steamy
mist rejoining its source.

~Sharon Sharp


Notes: Photo: mennyfox55. Poem: Thank you Make Believe Boutique

Saturday Morning

She is making a pot of tea and I am clearing plates from the table. We both step around the room, around the dog, around the circular table, around each other, by instinct. I could navigate this space with my eyes closed, if called upon to do so. From down the corridor, the voices of my children, playing with the array of toys my mother keeps in her cupboards, can be heard, rising and falling, exclaiming and negotiating. Tea-making is a sacred, circumscribed ritual in this house. I would never presume to undertake it, would never encroach on this most delicate of tasks. There are several steps that must be followed, one leading mysteriously from the next: I can never quite remember the sequence, have always been too impatient to learn, unlike my sisters, who enact the same ritual in the same way in their own kitchens. The correct pot must be selected, as should the most suitable cosy. Warming must take place, for a prescribed amount of time, and this water must absolutely be discarded, with a quick, derisive flick into the sink. Only then may the tannin-dark pot be filled, first with tea leaves, measured out with a specially appointed pewter spoon, then boiling water. On goes the cosy—knitted or quilted, mostly embroidered—then steeping occurs. On the draining board, cups (bone china, always) and milk at the ready.

Maggie O’FarrellI Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death (Feb 6, 2018)


Notes: Photo – Antique Passion. Related Posts: Maggie O’Farrell

Lightly Child, Lightly.

When in the morning I make coffee…
to what do my hands listen?
Once I had to tell them do this, do this, do this.
There are things a body learns.
There are things it won’t forget.

Hannah Aizenman, from “Notes Toward an Elegy, or What the Books Were For


Notes:

  • Poem via lifeinpoetry. Photo: Aberrrant Beauty
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Sunday Morning

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

Pat Schneider, The Patience of Ordinary Things, “Another River: New and Selected Poems


Notes: Poem – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: Colorinstantfilm

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Coffee!


Source: Mennyfox55

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

There’s strength in observing one’s miniaturization. That you are insignificant and prone to, and God knows, dumb about a lot. Because doesn’t smallness prime us to eventually take up space? For instance, the momentum gained from reading a great book. After after, sitting, sleeping, living in its consequence. A book that makes you feel, finally, latched on. Or after after we recover from a hike. From seeing fifteenth-century ruins and wondering how Machu Picchu was built when Incans had zero knowledge of the wheel. Smallness can make you feel extra porous. Extra ambitious. Like a small dog carrying an enormous branch clenched in its teeth, as if intimating to the world: Okay. Where to?

~ Durga Chew-Bose, from “Heart Museum” in Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays


Photo: Paul Nicol with Walk Softly. Carry a Big Stick.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Everything

begins

simply

enough.

~ Durga Chew-Bose, from “Heart Museum” in Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays


Image: Mennyfox55

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Coffee anyone?


Photo: Patty Maher with Concentric Circles

Saturday Morning

tasting,

But this morning, a kind day has descended, from nowhere,

and making coffee in the usual day, measuring grounds
with the wooden spoon, I remembered,

this is how things happen, cup by cup, familiar gesture
after gesture, what else can we know of safety

or of fruitfulness?

– Marie Howe, excerpt from “From Nowhere” in The Good Thief: Poems


Notes: Poem Source: via violentwavesofemotion. Photo: Cup Tasting by Jürg Balsiger

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