i tried to paint her, but– // on seeds and limits

“bird seeds”, i say,
“she had eyes like bird seeds”,

what i mean is
what you feed them,
& tumbles from


—–s c a t
———–t e r   e     d

on a concrete stair,
(of my childhood),
down into the basement,
on the outside house wall,
where we played
——–cowboys & indians

& seeds buried in the dirt,
no one finds

i’m angry,

don’t like
how he treats her,
try to be nice,

but my words taste watery,
like strawberries i had for breakfast,

all the sugar poured wild
on their red heads
couldn’t save them,

& that bothers me,

i feel sorry for the pancakes,
(odd, i know–)
they’re good,
like the one my mom makes,
thin and foldable,
(which sounds unimportant
–but is not)

buttery brown chest,
nestled up

against my tongue,
fusion ready,

& what can i give them?

there she sits,
all day in a saffron dress,
tea cup in her slender hands,
long black hair,
woven to an artful knot,

& smiles
each time our eyes meet
at a fixed point in the air


my poem for OLN at dVersePoets where our new swedish pub tender pours drinks and hands you the mic for the first time… be sure to stop by at 3pm EST when the doors open


59 responses to “i tried to paint her, but– // on seeds and limits

  1. I like this! To me its almost like the way my brain makes word associations in a way. I love how descriptive you are because it adds so much to each piece you write and makes it so much richer

  2. Observing how other people interact can be frustrating sometimes…especially when someone is being mistreated verbal…you want to say something but can only swallow your thoughts like tart strawberries.

  3. …sometimes it is better to leave the situation as ease…. where the best posible help you can do is to smile & play as if you don’t exist in the movie… but then not all the time… or shall not at my end… i most cases like this i witnessed i normally do something for i wasn’t taught how to play dead… possibly might create trouble but who cares… smiles… i often wonder if limits do really exist or only an excuse created in the mind… it’s like limits are just a noisier way of not doing something… i dunno… hihi… have a nice day! smiles…

  4. i don’t like how he treats her….that was your hook for me that colored everything else and put on edge it all…and there is a knowing in that point between you in the end that is so heavy to me…the i feel sorry for pancakes part adds some nice levity without coming off point…nice write c…smiles. hope your day is well…

  5. Sometimes it is HARD to be nice, and you know your words are watery and wonder if they notice….. I can picture her in her saffron dress with her teacup, and as your eyes meet it seems to me they meet in silence, with so much unspoken. On another note I love that you played cowboys and Indians too….ha, in Germany!!

  6. “Some things never change.
    Some things always remain the same.”

    Thankfully Claudia, your “same” is the saving grace for whoever finds their way here to read your most deepest thoughts, and scattered words, phrases, poems.

    For years I was trying to persuade myself that prayer is an answer, a solution. Well, for me, I have found that in prayer is a power so great, so unlimited, (so little used), which can alleviate much of my–and the world’s–pain and suffering.

    “Ask, and you shall receive!” IT SOUNDS TRITE…but they told me if it sounds “trite”…then “try-it”. I DID!

    Thank you for dredging up those thoughts from my soul–promise I won’t do it again (soapbox) on your comments…until next time. LOL!!!!!

  7. The way he treats her…says so much. I have been there to see someone I love being mistreated and I had to voice my opinion which was not welcomed. It’s hard..the person does not want to fight for themselves and when they look into your eyes they know that you are aware that they deserve better.

  8. Some really amazing imagery here. I love how you compare the words to watery strawberries, destroying the pancakes.. and bird-seeds… but how you also manages to weave in that maltreatment of her, and how powerless we are to help… Love it (and I’m eager for tonight)

  9. Ooh…the juxtaposition of the light/fun imagery, the seeds–love that–and the childhood play, with your feelings of how she is treated, your anger, the watery taste, and what is unsaid is perfect. Great poem.

  10. Oh I love how you weave this one. Had to read it a few times, because your images are so unique. Sad to watch a scene of subtle abuse like this. We’re so powerless to help.

  11. You’re painting very familiar world for me, the childhood, where in one yard could play kids from families of different cultural levels (not necessary income level).
    It was very brave to say something at all sometimes…
    Very visual poem… and we were playing our version of cowboys and Indians – Cossacks-robbers…Smiles…

  12. that’s certainly deep emotion…. And definitely descriptive of this poor gal, and whatever mistreatment she reminds you of…. That alone gets you a B+ – adding pancakes with strawberries brings it up to an A+……!

  13. Without seeds we have no prodigy, but how we handle those seeds, how we treat & relate the fruit or flowers or adolescents that sprout from them is the measure of our soul, our character; yet we see all, as poets, feel everything, like wandering empaths soaking up the ugliness as well as the sunshine in our version of this world, and like ministers, or samaritans, we forget that it is our job mostly to watch, to catalog, to care, and hold back actions that may blur as our good intentions snarl up with another’s misconception or anger.

  14. Very lovely painting of her, specially the opening verses, eyes like bird seeds & where she is sitting with her hair in an artful knot ~

  15. love the feellng sorry for the pancakes–I make mine thin and fold-y and my husband’s are thick and fluffy and I share the odd feeling of sympathy for the cakes when its my turn. And my “words taste watery” exactly describes how I feel when I say something because I feel I need to, but what I say is so inadequate. Fixed point in the air captures the emotional tenor of the moment perfectly.

  16. such a challenge to observe and sit with discomfort, especially knowing nothing we do will change a situation. Love the full sensory impact of the strawberries and pancakes… again takes us into the body where discomfort or expected comfort is or isn’t experienced.

  17. Did you and Brian consult today? I looked for the happiness in here, and it is unusually absent. But give us good seeds, and let us try again … Her eyes, for example–let them stay beautiful and let them meet ours to show that we hear and see–let us grow bigger fruits of nourishment and trust the little we can do. (This morning a friend and I cut loose a robin tangled in a string, dangling upside down in a tree. We couldn’t remove all of the string (sigh) but later saw the bird flying (with the string) and knew we had given him a little more time.)

  18. I see the lady as a tragic romantic figure … birdseeds, scattered, lost – what a unique way to describe this woman.
    Your poem is rich in possibilities and relationships and tensions, among which is your quandary about approaching her or not. Maybe, it will be good to strike up a casual conversation and see what happens.

  19. The sugar poured wild couldn’t save them–strong writing. Sometimes we are powerless in the face of limitations–limits on knowledge, language, etc.–and then what? Nicely done!

  20. This speaks the loudest to me:

    “no one finds

    i’m angry”

    I love the whole section about the pancakes. Great ending as well—the last couple of stanzas. It’s amazing what people can smile through.

  21. Your imagery is spot on, and I love the part about feeling bad for the pancakes, even though they are delicious. This is a splendid write, Claudia.


  22. You have such a gift for taking us from the wonderful, delicious banality of what sound like the best pancakes to the profound. I’m angry and I don’t like the way he treats her. Wow.

  23. Your imagery is always vivid..the poem .makes me wonder what is behind some smiles..perhaps some hidden pain..perhaps, we just smile with understanding..

    I don’t like the way he treats her… – real emotion in play..

  24. Very intriguing… read it three times and am intrigued with how you begin and end it by observing, but with a delicious memory stuffed in the middle smothered with a little anger and guilt.

  25. so much packed into the seeming lightness of strawberries, pancakes and sugar… but the loss and anger and the scattered feel is impossible to ignore. As always, Claudia, the journey is about here, now and the memories (some irretrievable) that bring that into sharp focus. Like this very much.

  26. Heart-wrenching writing here, with emotions all over the place. As always I love it. “she had eyes like bird seed” is such a great opening line- it sets the tone, grabs you immediately into this vignette. Wonderful poem Claudia. -Mike

  27. Two strangers..eyes meeting in silence…an entire language spoken here…Loved your imagry throughout…the saffron dress…her hair coiled such…the strawberries..I’ll remember this one…for what was said, unsaid.

  28. I love how you started the poem with her eyes, and then closed it off with eyes (that last line was perfect).
    I also enjoyed the play on words like, “pump,” “kins.” You have a special way of talking about relationships.

    Is it just me or is everyone writing about strawberries? And honestly after reading this I really want to eat some pancakes now. smiles.

  29. Love your words tasting watery like the strawberries, and the resolute sketching of a relationship that arrives at end. Great piece Cloudy

  30. Beautiful piece, imagery of childhood. The smile hides a pain i guess and the silence conveys grief and agony.

  31. I love the birdseed stanza, Claudia. I always wonder how you come up with the breaks in lines/words/letters that work so well but would never occur to me, and this one nailed it for me. But I must admit I got distracted by those pancakes, too–yes, foldable is so important. I put yogurt in the mix when I make pancakes, and they get puffy but still fold over so I can cup a pancake in one hand and coffee in the other as I wander the garden in the morning… Perfection.

  32. Can’t put it any better than Sam, just above me here.
    Absolutely lovely poem this, Claudia. Aren’t they all?

    • Thanks, for sharing another [very] descriptive, poem as you tried to paint her, but…“bird seeds”, i say,
      “she had eyes like bird seeds…”

      deedee 🙂