This Poem was Submitted By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2004-08-22 15:08:18 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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The Hand that Fills Your Cup

Chipping sparrow under my bench, you drink from puddles on the porch-- look up, lifting your soft gray throat to lilt your chip-chip pulse of praise. (I think you see me, so I hold my breath.) Stellerís jay, you rasp remarks from tall pineĎs peak, and pause to scan bird-feederís banquet then swoop down to scoop your split of sunflower seeds. As you each fill your cup of joy,   you spill grace notes so transient  I cannot summarize them here.  But surely the hand that fills your cup  has filled my own once more. 

Copyright © August 2004 Joanne M Uppendahl

Additional Notes:
Revised. Inspired by Mary Oliver's "Carolina Wren."


This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2004-09-07 23:09:40
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.95238
I love this one, too! L4 is amazing, both sonically and in terms of the imagery used. All creatures - most especially the sparrow, so beloved of God that He will never overlook its fall - praise the author of their being and universe. They may not identify a "god" per se but they intuit that something exists that is greater than they. It's interesting that they exult in this knowledge, rather than fearing it. We could learn much from a sparrow. The parenthetical reaction shows how absorbed the speaker has become in the bird's actions and how she shares its perspective. Stellerís jay, you rasp remarks [the alliteration and onomatopeia combine to imitate his prattle] from tall pineĎs peak, and pause to scan [more very pleasant alliteration, plosive like the jay's voice] bird-feederís banquet then swoop down to scoop your split of sunflower seeds. [Lots of sibilance here, and I get the feeling that the jay thinks he's being stealthy] The term "grace notes" has dual levels; the embellished song, and the idea of divine grace working through a bird's melody. As he utters them, we are blessed to receive the sounds. I used grace notes in that poem I wrote about the white-throated sparrow, caught by the shrike. Birds, in particular, seem to have a more direct access to the spiritual dimension than so the more sophisticated humans who assume they're superior. Bt because we are able to feed such small entities doesn't mean that we are their sole source of nourishment and nurture. In turn, we must also be fed by Something higher up the chain. And I have a suspicion that the Something expects us to celebrate His generosity, not complain about it or use it as an excuse to fight over it. In the end, the speaker is aware that she is governed by the same cosmic order that directs the lives of the birds and other living things. Her cup, too, has been topped off. The cup is such a potent symbol of the sacred, from the Grail to the cup that runneth over to bless the Psalmist. The end result is a sort of small epiphany that enlarges her consciousness of the divine order, and understands her place within it. Again, an eloquent and profound treatment of this theme. It's one I appreciate and your speaker's viewpoint is also similar to mine. What a pleasure to read this tonight ... Brenda


This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas Edward Wright On Date: 2004-09-02 22:19:46
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
I read this title and tittered at the possibilities...
This Poem was Critiqued By: Wanda S. Thibodeaux On Date: 2004-08-31 21:56:48
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Dear Joanne: What a marvelous title for this piece. The poem itself seems to breathe, makes peace almost perceivable to the ear, inspires it in the reader. As you word-paint, the birds come to life, we see the same magic that you did in that moment. A true writer's gift. Each line is perfection, but surely, you know the two I adore. I haven't missed out on anyone's work, I still read all my favorite poets here. Take care. Best to you always, Wanda
This Poem was Critiqued By: Rachel F. Spinoza On Date: 2004-08-30 09:24:18
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
The Hand that Fills Your Cup Great evocative title for a lovely piece/peace. Chipping sparrow under my bench, I like "chipping" better than "chirping" as it is a fresh word and closer to the actual bird sound. Neat switch. you drink from puddles on the porch-- look up, lifting your soft gray throat to lilt your chip-chip pulse of praise. to "lilt your chirp" wonderful use of verb form! (I think you see me, so I hold my breath.) Stellerís jay, you rasp remarks from tall pineĎs peak, and pause to scan bird-feederís banquet then swoop down to scoop your split of sunflower seeds. great alliteration and assonance in that stanza As you each fill your cup of joy, you spill grace notes so transient I cannot summarize them here. But surely the hand that fills your cup has filled my own once more. ah, something greater than the act itself. This poem is a remarkable hymn. One small suggetion; I think I want to see the bird a little more clearly - its size, colors etc. Congrats on another fine poem. Best Roni
This Poem was Critiqued By: Turner Lee Williams On Date: 2004-08-24 02:23:38
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.84211
Joanne--This piece seem vaguely familiar or maybe it's just my senility peaking/peeking -smile. From your descriptors in stanza #1, I can almost see and hear the little earth toned "critters" as they quench their thrist. The personification of these birds held you spellbound as your re-telling of specific observations is doing for reader(s), especially, the combinations of allits, nonliteral verbiage and solitary internal rime in lines 6 thru 9. Your title for this free verse poem is profound in itself and only enhances the tone and theme by its repetition in line #
. As always your posts inevitable, infers or directly give praise, credit, power and love to a higher source. Thanks for this pious effort.TLW
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne Duval Morgan On Date: 2004-08-23 00:29:40
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.84615
Revised yes, however this version pared down, presenting more of the individual bird's personality is very charming, itallws the reader to envision what was seen, felt and heard. Harving liked the first posting, this is a trim lined version, that makes the scence so real, right to the observer, so as such this newer version deserves accolades, and a place on the listing, as such I'll not try to go into detail, your writing skill, tested and true can't go wrong. Besides I feel I feel like crap, but I wanted you to know I read, I throughly enjoyed, and appreciate. <y Best and all of the Universe is God's church, and these animals belong as you and I. Love always, Jo
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2004-08-22 21:26:26
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.92857
Hi Joanne, Such a lovely poem about our feathered friends. I know I told you how my husband loved to watch the birds in his feeders..so this poem speaks to me....'chipping sparrow... ...lifting your soft gray throat'..what a serene sight this is...your poetics put me right there on your porch...'chip-chip pulse of praise'..what a tender moment. Be still don't move or breath lest he soars away to a place we cannot go. The Steller's jays rasp their remarks..do they have a throaty sound compared to some? I am not familur with them but I know you have multitudes of birds that we don't have on this mountain top. Bird-feeders banquet..I love this and it also makes me smile. When Dale first got into the bird feeding business I never realized how many different seeds are in a bag of bird seed. We grew some of the oddest things in our grass... we let one of the sun-flowers grow and it was about 7 feet high before winter arrived! The notion that the birds fill their cups with joy is wonderful. "But surely the hand that fills your cup has filled my own once more." What a perfect ending to a beautiful poem...I wish I was sitting on your porch and could see your yard with flowers and birds as I know it is lovely. Thanks for giving me a peek into your world. Blessings...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: James Edward Schanne On Date: 2004-08-22 17:37:26
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.33333
are these birds of pray, I enjoyed this poem alot and doubt I could improve it in any way, perhaps saying what i liked best would be most helpful. Which would be all of the last: As you each fill your cup of joy, you spill grace notes so transient I cannot summarize them here. But surely the hand that fills your cup has filled my own once more. thanks for letting me read it
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2004-08-22 17:22:03
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Joanne, I would SOOO like to experience this witness firsthand. Barring that, I have to say that you have put me there in that very special place by the telling of this short but sweet encounter. And without having the benefit of the summary of notes, I think I still know what thoughts were shared by these joyful creatures. I love the way you give the credit where it's due with your title. But it doesn't surprise me the title is so apt, because if there was a contest for best title, you'd win (hands down) every month.(Tom would come in a close 2nd for a completely different reason. ha! but thats for another time and place) There is such tenderness in this poem, Joanne. At the risk of sounding sappy, tears welled as I was reading the first stanza when I got to "lifting your soft gray throat to lilt your chip-chip pulse of praise." The tenderness of your heart is completely transparent here. You "P" phrases are unique and stand out vividly: "puddles on the porch" and "chip-chip pulse of praise" which is extraordinary. At 2nd look, the phrase in parenthesis blows me away because at first read I held my breath too! That is such a disarming technique. This alliteration is absolutely chiming: "Stellerís jay, you rasp remarks----you start with these double "R"s from tall pineĎs peak, and pause to scan----then a triple P(I'm tinking we must be at the Olimpics!:) bird-feederís banquet then swoop down----nice "B"s to scoop your split of sunflower seeds."----This Quad should win a gold! (btw, I looked up a picture of a "Steller's Jay" that was quite impressive. Beautiful bird! The finishing touches here are awesome, the way you show that we are all God's creatures and how you can find such joy in His creations is just one of the many reasons I will always gravitate toward your name on the list. Some might call it favoritism. I call it making good use of my limited time. By "has filled my own once more." standing alone you put emphasis on the fact that if we pay attention God will show us His Glory. Thank you for sharing this. It's a keeper! Blessings, Jennifer
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