This Poem was Submitted By: Jana Buck Hanks On Date: 2005-07-05 01:36:17 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Texas Toast

Roaring heat beats down tenderly curled beans frying tiny white flowers shriveling baby green pods before full creation. Sunflower petals hurled darkly to the winds, one  mammoth head left to hang in crackling shame. Clotted soil crunches between fingers. French fried strawberries, repel soft liquid rain water, soaker hose totally useless. Impeded bird bitten new life casually rots. Raw silver sienna rivulets of split dust-bin swirls lazily.  Tomato vines flourish sans fruit, strange squash mutate into imposter cucumbers choke fragrant cilantro sticks, slithers into the sun bleached grass. Hens and chicks proliferate.  Lavender refuses to root.  Marigolds bake in a  circular brick bed by sky rocketed  temperatures romancing the stones.  Buttery bibb lettuce, grown knee high, gone to seed out of season.  Weathered wooden fence, a funeral trellis to withered Moon Flowers and Morning Glories. Life in the Texas garden, a union of sun and earth.

Copyright © July 2005 Jana Buck Hanks

This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2005-08-07 20:48:13
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
What a fabulously tactile poem, Jana! The imagery zings and sings. Everything combines into a rich canvas of textures, colors, shapes and sensations. From the rain to the dried petals and dessicated pods or fruit, it all spells "hot hot hot". I can't imagine living in Texas, although oddly enough, a close childhood friend just called me today from her home there. So I must have been meant to discover your poem before the contest ends. "A union of sun and earth". Indeed, and while the sun seems antagonistic to growth and even comfort, it is also the bringer of life and the master of the landscape. I love the wordplay, like "romancing the stones", for instance. Not to mention the title itself; we have loaves of bread up here that go by the name Texas Toast even though they've never been out of NS. I guess it's possible to be baked up here, too; lately we've had temperatures well into the 80s every day. And your imagery is SO incredibly descriptive, you haul me right into the scene. Sunflower petals hurled darkly to the winds, one mammoth head left to hang in crackling shame. The personification of a sunflower head is really well done. It has been defeated by weather, and reluctantly admits this. What a delightful passage! Other images I especially enjoyed would include "French fried strawberries", "impeded bird bitten new life", "squash/mutate into imposter cucumbers", "funeral trellis to withered Moon". Really, I love 'em all! Then there's the sonic detail, like "Marigolds bake in a circular brick bed by sky rocketed ..." with all those crunchy "k" sounds. How appropriate to the theme. This is a poem written by someone who understands the fell blow of such intense and dramatic heat, yet still treats it with a certain awed affection. It celebrates the summer and accepts that with the gift of sun will also come the wilting of earth's green and gentle things. It's not a bad trade, though. And from the situation so evocatively depicted, we get a real treat to read. No wonder this piece has been doing so well in the standings, Jana. It rocks! Brenda

This Poem was Critiqued By: arnie s WACHMAN On Date: 2005-08-05 17:15:15
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.80556
Very descriptive and passionately written. All I can say is thank goodness I don't live in Texas although here on the coast it's sweltering by our standards - 28 to 30 degrees C. Morning glories, earth sun what more can one ask? Eloquent. You certainly have brought out the best of your surroundings. Love the title. Thanks for posting.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Dellena Rovito On Date: 2005-08-03 13:22:14
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.70588
Jana, It sounds toooooooooo hot. Everythings getting fried. It's almost smart to plant in the shade! I like gardens and the trip through yours is fun. Ever try kolarabi? Jerusaleum artichokes are a gas. They get their root in and takee over unless contained but I like em. Sunflowers are grand.....not sure why ashamed? Your titles perfecto.......I'll bet the gardeners toasted also. I like hens and chickens. What a hot time was had between the union of earth and sun! Sizzling. Fun poem. Enjoyable earth growing read! no weeds! good job. Dellena
This Poem was Critiqued By: Duane J Jackson On Date: 2005-07-16 06:05:58
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.92308
Hi Jana, 'Texas Toast' - an apt title that prepares the reader for a very scorching walk through the sun-interrupted garden you so vividly describe. And though there is a sense of 'withering' throughout the piece due to the sun's overwhelming influence, the beauty of it all cannot go unnoticed....owing to the masterful way in which you choose to write about it or owing to the intriguing manner in which nature takes its course. I feel it is a wonderfully synchronized combination and blend of both. I will not pull up anything in particular about what I liked most or what I liked least about the poem as it is as complete and well-thought out as can be and delivers on all fronts in giving the reader a very thorough experience. You do have a way about creating an ambience!! It must have been a very large garden to have accomodate all this vegetation, the hens, etc. You might also be alluding to the effect on natural vegetation in the state in general but this is less likely. Whatever it be, you have given your readers a sense of the toaster in Texas during the heatwave. We had a heat-wave here in Calcutta this summer and it was unbearbale. Things are a lot more comfortable with the onset of the monsoons. A very well-crafted piece with good form, rich language and pristine imagery!! P.S - At this stage you might be out of town owing to the hurricane. I do hope that all is well. Take care, Duane.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joyce P. Hale On Date: 2005-07-10 11:45:13
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.44444
Jana, what vivid pictures your words of fiery air bring to a reader's mind! Many of your descriptions are priceless: Clotted soil crunches between fingers; French fried strawberries; Tomato vines flourish sans fruit; strange squash mutate into imposter cucumbers; sky rocketed temperatures romancing the stones; Weathered wooden fence, a funeral trellis to withered Moon. And most of all, the last line: Life in the Texas garden, a union of sun and earth. What a union!! One in which the sun seems to be the dominant and abusive partner, eh??!! Even the title is apropos.... Texas Toast! There is one line upon which I was not clear... *Impeded bird bitten new life casually rots.* Should this possibly have had a hyphant if it refers to fruit that was partly eaten... *bird-bitten?* Or am I totally clueless? (:D Excellent descriptive write.... Peace.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2005-07-08 06:28:18
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.75000
The title Texas Toast captured my attention.....when I go to the grocery store you can buy Texas Toast in the frozen food department so you know what I was expecting.........breakfast of course.....interesting read and makes me have second thoughts of taking a trip to your fair State to visit my niece and nephew......never been but if it can be that hot and dry I might not want to either.......still, it has been a great read, good structure, word flow, and images, how you have brought to life the results of too much heat and hot sun....the damage it can do without the rain to compensate for the torture these flowers and veggies have gone through......I have a little garden this year that is growing ever so quickly due to the intense rain we have had....we worried about the seed being washed away at first, but they held on for dear life I guess and now the tomatoes through the sunshine will turn red and be so good to the taste..... You certainly have a flare for words poet and made this enjoyable at least to this reader and I am certain many others......hope you are well and enjoying your new home......Thank you again for sharing your God given talent with us.....God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2005-07-06 15:56:41
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Jana, I have been in Texas this time of year and you are right, it is hot! I feel sorry for this Texas garden that attempts to be lovely but fails due to the pounding heat and sun. Your images are wonderful and I can clearly see the distressed foliage. We have had about 4 years of drought and I too posted a poem here about that...but this year we have had some rain and everything looks so much better even though we are still on water restrictions....'sunflower petals hurled darkly to the winds, one mammoth head left to hang in crackling shame'...I love this line...your words make it easy to see this poor flower as it struggles to survive...'clotted soil crunches between fingers' wonderful image....'raw silver sienna rivulets of slit dust-bin swirls lazily'...wonderful 's' sounds coupled with 'r' sounds work so well here...'strange squash mutate into imposter cucumbers choke fragrant cilantro sticks, slithers into the sun bleached grass' more delicious 's' sounds with amazing 'c' sounds that give the phrase a stuccato cadence that is most pleasing when read aloud. If I had to choose a favorite line (and thank heavens I don't) it would be....'Weathered wooden fence, a funeral trellis to withered Moon Flowers and Morning Glories'...just perfect line for this piece...bravo. Well done...I enjoyed every word! Blessings...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Lora Silvey On Date: 2005-07-05 23:14:39
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Jana, Texas Toast (What a wonderfully intriguing title) Roaring heat beats down tenderly curled beans frying tiny white flowers shriveling baby green pods (Ah yes, the heat has a way of destroying all of natures fresh young tender lings, very descriptive.) before full creation. Sunflower petals hurled darkly to the winds, one mammoth head left to hang (and how colorful with petals that become dark from the sun cooking blowing away and one poor sunflower head barely still with us hanging on, just doesn’t seem right thus the shame) in crackling shame. Clotted soil crunches between fingers. French fried strawberries, repel soft liquid rain water, (what great imagery and how often have I held soil that does exactly that, such apt description of the strawberries, that gives me a new way to look at the poor dried up things…..1 suggestion, I love the way the last line here reads but as a suggestion a would drop the word “water” after “liquid rain, ) soaker hose totally useless. Impeded bird bitten new life (even here we have a prob with birds in our gardens, eating even new sprouts) casually rots. Raw silver sienna rivulets of split dust-bin swirls lazily. Tomato vines flourish sans fruit, strange squash mutate into imposter cucumbers choke fragrant cilantro sticks, (this also is so descriptive of life with over abundance of sun) slithers into the sun bleached grass. Hens and chicks proliferate. Lavender refuses to root. Marigolds bake in a circular brick bed by sky rocketed temperatures romancing the stones. Buttery bibb lettuce, grown knee high, gone to seed out of season. Weathered wooden fence, a funeral trellis to withered Moon Flowers and Morning Glories. Life in the Texas garden, a union of sun and earth. (Jana, this is phenomenal and you said all you can write are from a darker perspective. You have truly captured the essence of living where there is an over abundance of sunshine and heat. Even through all that appears to be desolate and futile there still remains a beauty, shoot how many people do you know that go to by dried fruit for snacks and here you have the Texas sun making them for you……..OK, not funny. I really enjoyed this poem, it’s structure, your verbiage and how your thoughts flowed one into the next without hesitation or pause. Bravo. Very enjoyable read. Thank you.) Lora
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