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3 Antique Poems by Rohan Buettel




The Danish Tray

Three glass serving dishes — pellucid smoky grey. Chunky rectangles with rounded corners sit snugly nestled in a teak Esa tray; whose ends, inward curves, make a perfect fit; invite fingers to slide under and lift. The handles of each dish, glass lips to seal a perfect kiss, an appetizing gift between finger and thumb — the smooth cool feel. A tray for starters, always used for good. Brought out for visitors, my mother serves — the patterns of life embodied in wood. My tiny hand grasping chips, hors d’oeuvres. Choosing now — garage sale, op shop, e-bay; too many memories to give this away.


The Crystal Bowl

It reminds me of my mother every day, the crystal bowl aglow refracting light. Her china cabinet kept it on display. It reminds me of my mother every day. Now on my kitchen table gleaming bright, with mundane use for fruit it still delights. It reminds me of my mother every day — the crystal bowl aglow refracting light.


I Never Found The Joy

I never found the joy in pretty things: my mother’s Royal Doulton figurine, her porcelain expression made serene, now gathers dust waiting in the wings; the stage not set despite the grace she brings; all props removed, her costumes never seen. The play has ceased before the final scene, the house is dark, the bell no longer rings. I twist a tumbler in slanting beams of light; behold the hues of rosy Venetian glass; reflection shines its gleam upon the past. A stenciled shadow spins, a gorgeous sight. The years we strive to make our mark, surpass the simple joys we missed — till found at last.


BEHIND THE ANTIQUES:


Backstory for The Danish Tray


After my mother passed away and my father moved into an aged care facility, I spent several months at the family home cleaning out a lifetime’s possessions and readying the home for sale. My sister and I agreed to keep whatever we wanted, but it was a very big job. We divided things between those to take to antique dealers for sale, to sell online, for garage sale, to give to an opportunity shop (charity), and the recycling centre. The Danish Tray, a mid-century modern item, was slated for the op shop, but when packing it up for transport it brought back too many memories from my childhood and I decided to keep it. I captured the experience in a sonnet.


Backstory for The Crystal Bowl


After my mother passed away and my father moved into an aged care facility, I spent several months at the family home cleaning out a lifetime’s possessions and readying the home for sale. My sister and I agreed to keep whatever we wanted, but it was a very big job. We divided things between those to take to antique dealers for sale, to sell online, for garage sale, to give to an opportunity shop (charity), and the recycling centre. A Stuart lead-crystal bowl was one of my mother’s favourite possessions, having pride of place in her china cabinet. After checking sale prices online, I decided that its sentimental value was much higher than its monetary worth and I have used it ever since as a fruit bowl on the kitchen table. In low light, its facets refract and it glows internally, bringing the memory of my mother to life each time I look at it. I captured the experience in a triolet.


Backstory for I Never Found The Joy

After my mother passed away and my father moved into an aged care facility, I spent several months at the family home cleaning out a lifetime’s possessions and readying the home for sale. My sister and I agreed to keep whatever we wanted, but it was a very big job. We divided things between those to take to antique dealers for sale, to sell online, for garage sale, to give to an opportunity shop (charity), and the recycling centre. Neither my sister nor I appreciated my mother’s Royal Doulton figurines and they were sold to an antique dealer. After returning to my hometown, I was sitting in full sun on a winter’s day holding a Murano glass tumbler in my hand, a gift from my sister. Twisting it in the sun I saw a shadow of the stenciled gold decoration spinning in my hand and experienced an epiphany, appreciating its beauty for the first time. I captured the experience in a sonnet. ABOUT:


Rohan Buettel lives in Canberra, Australia. His haiku appear in various Australian and international journals (including Presence, Cattails, and The Heron’s Nest). His longer poetry appears in more than forty journals, including The Goodlife Review, Rappahannock Review, Penumbra Literary and Art Journal, Passengers Journal, Reed Magazine, Meniscus, and Quadrant.


EDITOR'S SONG PAIRING:

Kitchen - Teen Mom



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