“Second Marriage” (Out of the Frying Pan and Into the….)

Iron Pan

Second Marriage

He’s the kind of guy who carefully seasons
an iron skillet, oiling the surface,
eschewing soap.  I know all the reasons,
understand rust, stickiness; nonetheless,
I squeeze Dawn right onto the blackness,
and when I smell that low-heated oil, I
rebel.  “Are you,” I charge (nearly senseless),
seasoning my frying pan?” As if to try
traditional method, some slow process
of caretaking, were a sure scheme to defy,
deny, descry, the rushed independence
I’ve professed; those hurry-up lone years I
scraped so many sharp implements across,
getting rid of the hard bits, loss and loss.


Here is an older sonnet that I am reposting today (i) because I’ve always liked it, and (ii) for dVerse Poets Pub’s prompt on the use of symbols in poetry, hosted by the wonderful Victoria C. Slotto.

Check out dVerse and Victoria’s article, and the other poets, and check out my books!  Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 1 Mississippi -counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, or Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.  Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!

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52 Comments on ““Second Marriage” (Out of the Frying Pan and Into the….)”

  1. Claudia Says:

    a frying pan sonnet…love this..and this is what i love about poetry…you write about a frying pan and everyone knows what’s going on and thinks in another dimension and re-thinks things..

  2. Wow. So many things this suggests. Brilliant. I have a lot of hard bits to get rid of myself.

  3. Oh I so hear you, and enjoyed this poem so much. I remember the man who took GREAT exception to the way I wrung out the dishrag. Hee hee. It is miraculous people manage to live together at all!

    Thanks for your visit to my site……I am envious that your dog is seventeen. Mine was fourteen and his last couple of years were very hard for him. I have grieved him longer and harder than any of the innumerable losses in my life. It’s been a tough one. No one loves us as unconditionally as our dogs do. Hope yours stays healthy for a long time yet.

  4. Karin, I’ll never look at cast iron skillets in the same way. It’s amazing where we can find skillets and you’ve done so well with it.

  5. brian miller Says:

    tight k…nice tension between your independence and togetherness….the symbol plays out well with your years of scraping the hard stuff away as well….nice

  6. Tino Says:

    Is it a woman thing 😉
    All I ever get is, you wash, I’ll dry, only I just dont do it right.
    Next time I ‘season’ the frying pan, I shall think of this.

  7. Yousei Hime Says:

    I love this. I wonder how many people now about seasoning an iron skillet. I know my sister didn’t and threw one away thinking it was ruined. I love my skillets, so I chuckled all the way through your poem, rich with life symbols.

  8. Ah… a lot more to this than meets the surface of the seasoned frying pan. I like your determined defiance …

  9. Laurie Kolp Says:

    This is such a clever symbol- the seasoning of the pan. Reminds me of getting set in your ways and the benefits “experience” gives us in prioritizing snafus.

  10. Sounds like the third marriage is on the way!

  11. Ah … the skillet … seasoning it … so important …

  12. Mary Says:

    Sometimes it seems easier to scrape than to season! But the easiest way isn’t always the best.

  13. tashtoo Says:

    doing it my way indeed! Some things are quite simply sacred…but there are times when despite best efforts..you still gotta scrape and get rid of the resin…loved this! (Perhaps because I married a cook and if I receive one more lesson on seasoning the cast iron skillet I’ll lose it!) 😉

  14. Susan Says:

    Brilliant, Clever, and True and a Story too! I seasoned my pans at one time–especially the one for popcorn back efore microwaves, and to prep a party at my house, a “friend” scraped and scrubbed it off– I could have killed her. The way doesn’t matter as long as it is MY Way, and guess what that symbolizes!?

  15. I was intrigued with the title post ~ I like the use of the frying pan too…so much can be said of the relationship by the way we use it ~

  16. kaykuala Says:

    A measure of test between what we prefer to what others offer. It can mean a delicate balance when it involves someone dear to us. Nicely written K!


  17. janehewey Says:

    so happy when you re-post poems I have not read. I season our skillet because it makes the thing shine. i like that. love the symbolism here. sharp implements and hard bits!

  18. It’s not about a frying pan? 😉 Almost three years later I leave the microwave door open and the light on… its just a door and a light of course.

  19. hobgoblin2011 Says:

    this is great. Love the frying pan metaphor/symbol, really nice how it turned out. Thanks

  20. David King Says:

    This is so clever and so well done. I could be tempted to spend too much time reading it.

  21. wolfsrosebud Says:

    sometimes all you can do is re-oil the pan

  22. hedgewitch Says:

    Your sonnet, first, is just a joy to read, composition and content–and I love the final couplet which is such a confirmation of what went before. I also echo Sherry–it’s amazing people can ever find the common ground to live together at all, because control and self-definition are the hardest things to give up, especially when you’ve had to work very hard to achieve them. Both have to lay some of that down, and it’s in the small everyday things that true sacrifice is made, I think. Thanks for dusting this one off–enjoyed it much.

  23. Emily Says:

    Didn’t even realize I was reading a sonnet until the second time through, so caught up in the ideas contained here. The frying pan metaphor is very clever indeed!

  24. I adore this, so well written and powerful!

  25. Sheila Says:

    great symbols – the rebel defiance over a frying pan (and other little things) is something I can definitely relate to. I often have to ask myself, “how important is it, really?” 🙂

  26. Mama Zen Says:

    Oh, yes! This delivers just beautifully.

  27. This sure is way cool!

    Reminds me of bits of my yucky first marriage. Luckily that one was almost 25 year ago, and lasted only 3 years.

    Still, this brought up interesting memories of sharp metal and scraping off bits.

    One of your best, for sure!!


  28. Luke Prater Says:

    great content. missing the iambic pentameter (counting ten syllables instead, rather than five sets of iambs), but perhaps you intentionally avoided the meter anyway as many modern poets do?

    ‘deny, descry…’ line my favourite

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Luke! Maybe you don’t realize that my background is Swedish–everything I saw is in Iambic Pentameter! (Ha!) No, I am syllabic, I freely admit it – although I do try to listen for feet (and I am Swedish!) (Gustafson.) Hope you are well. k.

      • Luke Prater Says:

        most poets trying sonnets think ten syllables is what’s needed, but that is a minefield – it’s likely to render a mixed bag, metrically – some lines will count five, yes, but some four, some six, and others will count difficulty and depend how they are read/spoken. It’s about iambs, five of them (and iamb is comprised of two syllables, a unstressed followed by a stressed one: di-DUM, like ‘unsure’ (un SURE)). Specific and consistent metrical feet are used for two reasons – a) to ensure the flow is even right through/to guarantee the reader has no doubt whatsoever how it is to be read metrically, and b) because, in the case of iambs, they are the closest top how we speak/construct sentences in English. eg

        ‘I want my toys today!’

        i WANT | my TOYS | to DAY

        shall I | com PARE | thee TO | a SUM | mer’s DAY?

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        Yes, I know. But what about anapests? And Dactyls! I tend to vary between 9 and 11 depending on sound.

      • Luke Prater Says:

        yes sure, in basic pentameter/tetrameter, etc, but for a sonnet, it’s strictly iambic. Unless you are taking liberties and writing a ‘modern’ one. Sonnets are written in iambic pentameter. Villanelles are more flexible. I’ve written them in looser meter that is a mix of iambs, trochees, anapests, dactyls and mono-syllabic feet, but so that it still counts a solid five (or whatever i’m going with)… other times I’ve written strictly in dactyls, or iambs, etc.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        You are right, of course, but I am a modern person, so I guess writing modern sonnets. I also find that being an American makes a difference. Our intonations are just so different!

  29. Adura Ojo Says:

    This has me smiling for all the right reasons. it resonates, yet drips with ever so subtle sarcasm. I love it!

  30. Lovely metaphor here – scraping out the past or embracing its aftertaste…

  31. Lindy Lee Says:

    A seasoned cast iron skillet is much easier to clean, as long as we remember to dry it well over a low flame to prevent rust…

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