Thursday, May 5, 2011

Considering the meaning of stanza

May 5, 2011

Considering The Meaning Of Stanza

Stanza means ‘room’ in Italian.

It’s a good thing because there are so many rooms

from which we write our lives (or deaths).

There is the living room, where lives are lived

or lost, yet in recent years no one who has died has a night there,

but often spends that last, earthly time in some cold other place,

missing out on the final conversations about his or her life.

The room with a view if you can afford it offers a chance for good talk

now and then. “Look, the sky has darkened to ready for the rain,” or

“the ocean seems particularly calm today” and

“you can see the mountains so clearly today; aren’t they gorgeous?”

Another room to consider is the bathroom where drama

can unfold, much that involves the slamming of doors and locking

oneself in, most especially if one is a teenaged girl. And then we notice

the bedroom, also high drama, especially early in a relationship,

or not so much if the fight has occurred, and then this room houses

lonely bedcovers and quiet, not the good kind, but the thick kind.

I like to think that the music room is one where quiet is welcomed until

cymbals crash, drums roll, and violins play until the tears flow. Here also voices

can scream, especially when the other kind of music enters the room, like rock ‘n roll.

In past times, the rec room was filled with box TV’s, ping-pong tables and bowls

of popcorn. Families who valued each other enjoyed recreation time with each other,

and even invited others in on occasion for a night of Monopoly and mixed drinks.

In some houses there is a sunroom, a delightful space with wicker and plants

and quilted cushions. Sweet tea is served, with cucumber sandwiches and tiny cakes.

Men don’t often appear.

The laundry room becomes a contented space where housewives

think themselves lucky to have moved into the Maytag brand of their lives,

And they spray and press and hang sweet-smelling clothes on the rack,

ready to carry to the bedrooms. This room plays second fiddle to the

other workroom of the house, that doesn’t even earn the name of ‘something’ room,

but its own designation, the kitchen, from the ancient German, kocina. This is the

room, the best room, one that nourishes more than the body and could easily be

called the home room. This is where lives play in and out, with fights and hugs and kisses

to show love and hate and shear wonderment at the goings-on in this room. It is where gifts

are given through measurement, mixing, and (today) microwaving,

and also received with gratitude for the gestures made.

How can I write a poem with a stanza or two, when there is so much to say?


  1. Late getting to my readings! So much to do in the class"room"! Your post brought back memories of stanzas in my life. Thanks!

  2. I really like this whole analogy--I especially like the kitchen section! It really drew me in. I am in awe of your poetry...


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