Ingredient poem

Thanks to John Noreen who hosted yesterday’s Ethical ELA Open Write with the invitation to pay homage to food that comforts and sustains us. John focused on process; he suggested that we “create the way we cook.” He says when he cooks, he takes a central ingredient and gets going, improvising along the way.

Sounds like a metaphor for writing to me…

Daily Writing Staple

An idea forms
inside my brain
like an egg forms
within a bird

one moment
and the next
the shell
of something

I feel new presence
of fragile life

or at least
the provisional sac
of nourishment
for building and 
sustaining life
as it forms

deep inside
living membrane

until it should hatch
and eventually fly
on wings of its own


like my breakfast egg
boiled for long enough
at the right temperature
the idea solidifies
and gives life
to me

one simple ingredient
containing a whole world
of possibility

and I almost never settle
for just one.


with thanks also to Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life Story Challenge every day in the month of March.

22 thoughts on “Ingredient poem

  1. Fran, this is great; I love it! I love your comparisons. I especially enjoyed these lines “one moment//nothing/and the next/the shell/of something / I feel new/presence/of fragile life/within” and “the idea solidifies/and gives life/
    to me”. The placement of your line breaks in this poem has a great effect. I felt the line breaks slowing my reading connecting me to your thoughts as you were thinking them. Does that even make sense? I’m not sure if I correctly wrote exactly what I was feeling. Thank you for sharing and for your inspiration.

    Anyway, I wish I could eat eggs; I have an intolerance to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you enjoyed, Gail! I heard once that a new idea is a fragile thing – that is utterly true and an egg so lent itself. Also helped that I was boiling eggs for my breakfast when I read the prompt, lol.


  2. Fran, when I read your poem I immediately saw the bird connection – your love of birds is evident in so much of your writing. I love that the shell becomes something to work with and the hatching with wings to take flight. I also love that you consider the states of matter of the egg just like the way writing happens. This is such a creative comparison to the process. We have a Dash egg cooker that I like for boiling and poaching eggs so they are Kimproof, and I think I will think of your writing process now when I cook eggs!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I’ve been reflecting on my love of birds. What is it about them-? Today I had a fleeting memory of my Dad taking me to the pet store to get my parakeet for my sixth birthday – I’d been pleading for one. I carried the box out ever so carefully, looking in at the bird who was looking back at me – so whimsical, so enchanting. I am awed by the gift of flight. I know it’s an everyday thing. Birds fly. But that makes it no less miraculous…I once heard that a new idea is a fragile thing and an egg immediately formed in my mind. There we have it. Oh my, a Kimproof egg cooker -! You are priceless, in countless ways.


  3. I pictured your lines as artistic stop-motion animation, an actual egg forming in the mind, then traveling down, nourishing body and soul. In my embellished imagination, the woman sprouts wings as she writes and then flies, dropping eggs into the minds of others, making them smile and write and sprout wings of their own. I can’t often imagine visual imagery so clearly, but your poem did just that for me!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I really like the “or” in this poem, and the ending that makes it clear…one simple ingredient
    containing a whole world
    of possibility

    and I almost never settle
    for just one.

    I often feel that I have more than one direction I could go with an idea, and I wonder how it might have turned out if I had taken the other path. I usually don’t come back to that “other possibility,” but I probably should. My daughter is working on a paper right now (all through her spring “break.” It’s a case study for one of her P.A. classes. They’re given some descriptions of symptoms and limited history (but no blood work), and they’re supposed to explore all the possibilities. She’s a P in the Myers-Briggs world, and this is a bit of torture for her. She can’t “settle for just one,” or even just seven.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, your daughter – I can see this assignment spiraling and spiraling. I totally get it. You’re right about the directions one might take with an idea – sometimes they’re just as overwhelming as that assignment. At some point one has to “zoom out” a little and let the writing figure itself out… otherwise paralysis can set in pretty fast and pretty deep! Such intriguing thoughts – thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cindy – I once heard that a new idea is a fragile thing, and the profound truth of that has stuck with me. The poem-writing today produced the egg… a fragile thing, too…


  5. I absolutely love the shape of your poem and the unlocking of all the possibilities within it. It just captures the excitement, anticipation and innate joy of writing, picking up an idea or ‘ingredient’ and running with it, to see where it will take you!

    Liked by 1 person

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