Tuesday, April 29

Posted by Laurel Garver on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 12 comments
by Jessica Bell

You were Yiayia.
But I called you Zacharati.
That was your name.
It meant sugar.
Photo by Max Straeten, morguefile.com

Your parents must have known
that when you aged,
you’d litter your kitchen
bench with it,
when you’d make halva,
and wipe your hands
on your fraying apron
exactly seven times a day.

I’d count.
You’d giggle.
Papou would cross himself.

Every day I’d watch
you press baked almonds
into the squishy centers
of the diamond-shaped
brown sweets.

You were granting them hearts.

And that’s when you’d bring out the sugar.
And a sieve.

And sprinkle your name all over my world.

Source: Fabric. Edmonton, AB: Vine Leaves Press, 2012. p. 22.

Childhood memories are a powerful source for poetry ideas. Bell's piece is all the sweeter (pardon the pun) because she also weaves in a sense of place and culture, using Greek words and presenting her grandparents carrying on traditions.

Bell's collection Fabric is woven though with elements of Greek language and culture. It's a wonderful read. My review is posted here. For more on this and Bell's other poetry books, novels and writing resources, see her website.

What lines or images stand out to you? What childhood memories might you tap as inspiration for your writing?


  1. Replies
    1. Indeed it is. It inspires me to write more childhood inspired pieces.

  2. Jessica is a talented writer. Her poem reminds me of my grandmother making bread...

    1. I envy her having these lovely grandparent memories. My one grandmother was a character and a half, but not your typical "sweet" type. The other I saw less than a dozen times in my life.

  3. That is a sweet memory and a sweet poem. Jessica is definitely a talented writer! Her poem and Bish's comment remind me of my mom making cinnamon rolls in our kitchen - sugar and cinnamon all over. :)

    1. My cooking bonding memories are of making jam with my mom. I'm thinking kitchen memories would make a great theme for an anthology.

  4. Thank you so much for showcasing my poem. :-)

    1. You're most welcome! I would have been remiss to not do so, because you're helped keep alive my love of poetry.

  5. That poem was equal amount sweetness and thoughtfulness.

  6. I love poetry that evokes such a strong sense of place through memory. I've missed most of your A-Z posts, as I've been off the blogosphere for a while, but I'm glad to have caught this one.

    1. The Greekness adds another special spice to the mixture, doesn't it?