depression blossoms

Depression Glass

It seemed those rose-pink dishes
she kept for special company
were always cold, brought down
from the shelf in jingling stacks,
the plates like the panes of ice
she broke from the water bucket
winter mornings, the flaring cups
like tulips that opened too early
and got bitten by frost. They chilled
the coffee no matter how quickly
you drank, while a heavy
everyday mug would have kept
a splash hot for the better
part of a conversation. It was hard
to hold up your end of the gossip
with your coffee cold, but it was
a special occasion, just the same,
to sit at her kitchen table
and sip the bitter percolation
of the past week’s rumors from cups
it had taken a year to collect
at the grocery, with one piece free
for each five pounds of flour.

by Ted Kooser
from Delights and Shadows, 2004



J Cosmo Newbery said...

Sounds a bit like my Aunty Connie.

red dirt girl said...

I have an aunt who collects Depression Glass. Actually, she collects just about everything. Having downsized living space twice in two years, I've had to learn to let go of most of my collections - savoring that which pleases me most.

I like the poem because it reads, to me, as a beautiful long metaphor for depression, the illness. Depression is hard. Hard to live with, to recover from (you truly only go into remission if you're bipolar), hard to understand. I appreciate people who can describe it with a clear eye: focused and without pity.


Gary's third pottery blog said...


goatman said...

"The better part of a conversation"
A fine testimonial as to how long the mass of a cup might keep the potion warm.

Thanks for this poem, it brightened my day!

Anonymous said...

potery poetry, you don't read those everyday. i like the passage..."to sit at her kitchen table
and sip the bitter percolation
of the past week’s rumors"