The Scent of Ma’amoul, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

Lebanese shortbread cookies stuffed with figs, dates or walnuts (the original fig newton???)

Lebanese shortbread cookies (Ma’amoul) stuffed with figs, dates or walnuts (the original Fig Newton???)

The year we shaped our lives in the redwood forest,
you brought a wounded salamander inside to heal.
We gathered woodsy things, thistles and pinecones.
We made rose-hip syrup, dried the last of the herbs.
I decorated the cabin in an ensemble of earth tones,
a spicy blend to match the fires you built in the hearth
and the scent of the East in the ma’amoul baking. Our
seasonal hibernation was swathed in sweets and books.
Our winter warmed on the gold-dust of our love.

© 2016, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photograph, mamoul: biscotti libanesi, by fugzu under CC BY 2.0 license


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Well, here we are in my part of the world waking up to cold mornings and enjoying it. Over my morning coffee I was remembering particularly enjoyable winters and pondering what I’ll write about this winter.  In prose or poem, tell us about a favorite winter memory. If you feel comfortable to do so, share it – or a link to it – in the comments section below.  All work shared on theme will be published here next Tuesday.  You have until Monday evening at 8 pm PST to respond. Have fun! 


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15 thoughts on “The Scent of Ma’amoul, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Hi Jamie,
    I loved your poem. Here are two from me. One written today, Snowball Wars, and one written last February, A Long Winter’s Sleep.

    Snowball Wars

    Red rubber boots, unlined and stiff, crackling with the cold,
    stuffed with small round snowballs at days’ end,
    attached to our snowpant cuffs
    like the thistle burrs in summer to our socks,
    we seven heedlessly dumped it all out on the kitchen linoleum,
    pulling off those puffy clown pants,
    draping wet woolen mittens, grandma knit,
    over the wooden rack in the corner.
    The mittens and hats never dried between forays
    into that foot-deep,
    knee-deep white stuff,
    yet back on they went, wet and clammy next day
    our enthusiasm warming the wet threads.

    We never tired of building the snow forts
    creating our cover, our barricade for attacking the neighbor kids,
    defending our clan against them all,
    my job to form the balls,
    keep the pyramid pile stacked
    so my brothers could jump up and fire them
    over the top of the u-shaped fort.
    I cowered from the enemy’s rock-hard snow bullets,
    happy to make the ammunition behind the front line.
    Were we catching a sense of what a war would be like,
    years before my brother was sent to Vietnam?
    I tried hard to follow directions,
    pack the snow hard,
    slapping the balls together in my smaller hands.

    They were older, my brothers, like savages sometimes,
    so maybe that’s why they invented the ice ball—
    snow dipped in a bucket of water,
    then surrounded with more snow—
    so dangerous when they connected.
    Perhaps our padded clothing kept us safe,
    the ice ball dipping the source of their soaked mittens.
    Gram had hot chocolate on the stove sometimes
    when we came inside in the twilight
    on the best winter days.
    And no, my balls never measured up to theirs.

    © Snowball Wars, a poem, Lisa Ashley
    October 23, 2017

    A Long Winter’s Sleep

    The dash says 53 today,
    not bad for January.
    I glance across the street
    into the opening of his tent
    pitched there
    on the sidewalk
    under the overpass.
    What tethers his tent there?
    His body? His belongings?
    He’s a white man, balding.
    I can’t stop looking at him.
    I check the light.
    I invade his tent again.
    He’s putting on his shoes, I think,
    his tent flap rolled up
    to catch the morning light.
    Cars move through the intersection
    rolling by one after the other.
    It’s my turn to go.

    Winter’s cut crystal breath
    blasts concrete city
    and clement countryside alike
    as darkness drops down.
    We live mostly inside these days.
    Some live outside,
    connected without choice
    to nature’s moods and rhythms.
    Gelid wind rushes ‘round corners
    down brick and steel canyons,
    sneaks beneath crackling tarps
    pitched in peril
    on grass-barren ground.
    Mean homes huddled together,
    snugged up behind a stone pole,
    the metal dumpster,
    a frigid freeway barricade
    in hopes of blocking sleety rain.

    Who blows on numb hands
    inside these rimed plastic walls?
    He lies on back-breaking sidewalks
    night after night,
    hears stiff tarps snapping
    with the same indifference
    as the taps of sharp-soled boots
    skirting his home.

    It’s colder than a witch’s tit out there,
    we tell each other
    over a drink at the bar
    while hundreds
    hunker down
    that frozen-in-time night,
    shivering,
    waiting for morning
    when the tent flap can roll up.

    © A Long Winter’s Sleep, a poem,
    Lisa Ashley, February 15, 2017

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In response of your marvellous poem Jamie :
    #None keeps promise #

    That scarlet evening beside Shilabati is still sleepless
    That earthen road through which we did wayfaring
    is still waiting for you
    That deck bridge across the river
    is abiding still now just for you
    Some wintry leaves are flying on its chest agonized
    On that severe brumal evening
    lights of sideway poles were reflecting from the crystalline rivulet
    After a long walk we settled on a giant pebble
    Grasses -sedges and bamboos were grown most for their foliage
    Remains of some aquatic plants were kissing our mortal feet
    Divers waterbirds were peeping through hydrilla
    You uttered softly witnessing the pole star
    ,”Jhimli -we will come here again during the next fall of dew .”
    and touch the last pole
    Now it is a wintry evening anew
    I’m tramping again restless and lonely here
    Tears rolling down my cheeks are amalgamating with crystalline water of the rivulet
    You haven’t kept your words
    The mild bridge is calling me
    saying -“Don’t wait anymore -none would come –
    none would wipe your tears -none keeps promise .”…..
    Kakali Das Ghosh

    Liked by 1 person

  3. winter offering

    the first frozen
    day and my whole
    world is swallowed
    in snow. quiet air
    chills my bones
    as i draw each breath.

    exhale.

    every grey puff
    is winter’s sacred
    meditation chime,
    an invocation
    of gratitude as time
    fades quickly away.

    Like

  4. First response:

    Mile Markers

    Gray chalk hills fade one behind another
    until they dissolve into oyster sky.
    Ice crystals dance on gelid air,
    glisten highway’s edge, and settle
    in the crooks of sleeping maples.
    Evergreens bend with the weight
    of their thick winter shawls.
    In spite of its bleakness, we are taken by
    the stark frost-coated beauty of it all.

    Northbound…

    my core senses those timeworn mountains
    long before my eyes discern them.
    Yet, it is not these ancient mounds
    that draw me back, but the folks therein
    I long to see—those I love who wait for me.

    With each mile passed, the years begin to dissipate;
    like those hills now veiled by mist and gloam;
    my pulse beats faster as this heart anticpates
    that final stretch of road that leads me home.

    Ginny Brannan

    Second Response:

    Comfort Zone

    A sudden snow shower,
    flakes fly past the panes,
    we watch in silence
    mugs in hand; steam rising.
    You turn on an old movie—
    one seen a dozen times,
    maybe more…
    we laugh in unison,
    quoting favorite lines,
    echoing off each other,
    anticipating what comes next…
    as the steam rises

    Ginny Brannan

    Like

  5. something there is

    that now perceives a full moon in darkness
    slightly hazy behind the thinnest of cloud coverings
    behind the stark grasp of wintered branches –

    a something – but in reality an absolute nothing
    dreaming inconsequentially that it’s a something
    by reason of the idea that it guides the scudding pen

    across the page in the way it learned long ago to do
    to produce a modicum of words – just sufficient
    to say that there’s a something that perceives…

    and so on and on; there will come other occasions
    when it will choose to allow itself to be beguiled
    into imagining that grand & conspicuous heaps

    and heaps of words make some kind of sense –
    all the stout metaphors and the dancing images
    circumlocutions qualifications periphrastics…

    but in these bold moments before this winter dawn
    it has a sudden understanding that between words
    – whatever words you so carefully choose –

    and the infinite scintillations of externality there are
    gross mucky swamps and dire deserts monstrous
    mountains & galaxies that can never ever be traversed

    *

    From a 2011 collection ‘pseudo-clarities’…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Jamie – first response

    ..that feeling that..

    arrives unexpected from darkness, some winters’ mornings,

    opening the door to the sound of one black bran bird calling.

    track four repeated. that

    comes on waking finding peace and comfort bound in clean

    linen.

    arises with perfume, an uncertain memory.

    it may be chemicals, peptides in the brain as love, what

    ever the germ or warfare

    I find no word to describe, no random feather nor dust on

    my plate. pass a finger.

    that feeling of trimmed nails upon the keys pounding

    words and silences.

    while music plays. that feeling. that.

    syrup stings my tongue.

    sbm.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my second response:

    This Winter Tercet

    Cold snuffles wound round lean naked limbs.
    Wet wends beneath sinew, soaks into blind bone.
    Ice builds crystal by crystal simple net of things.

    A cracked miniscus mirrors low sun’s sharp moan.
    A fallen ocean blinks between blood red bricks.
    As gust raises bare barkskin, snaps rendered stone.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Jamie,

    Here is my first response:

    Nudd Offered

    At bottom of this Winter ale
    had a word about end of the world
    with Nudd, Lord of the Underworld

    Nudd says “Your wife and kids are dead
    and gone with the other Lord
    pustuled and poxed, ill fed

    come with me below
    to the lake beneath the mountain
    never age never hunger never ail
    meet your wife and kids again

    I agree, get up to go
    lift the latch
    trip and fall in snow.

    Liked by 2 people

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