Love in a Time of Thyme



Love in a Time of Thyme

She recited Prufrock as they walked a lawn
made purple by more
than twilight, each believing
that the mermaids would sing
to him (or her). Oh, they
would eat a peach, which incidentally
was the shade of her cheeks
that summer, the tenor of the bristle
garnishing his.

Not focusing either
on the fact that they talked (unstoppingly)
against a backdrop
of trout rather than mer–
(speckled, not wreathed,
in brown)–
a place where those
who’d drowned
had names like Rube that were passed
to the offending deep stream pools
and were probably drunk rather than waking
from a trance of unattempted

But they, speaking in Prufock,
did not categorize the sodden
as tragic, and after the grass grew damp
about their ankles, moved to Burroughs–because who,
he shook his head, could beat
the Beats
–then on to line and shape–how even
the Abstract Expressionists
were all washed up–

and, with the willful absorption
of the young, clung
to not being understood
and, sort of,
to each other,
purple tilting their vision even with eyes
half-open, the equinoctial light taking
to skin not used to being bared–

purple radiating
from the clouds overhead
or in their heads–
they never seemed to stoop
to what lay underfoot, not

until years later, and then
it was just her, and a peach was just
a peach and a drowned man was known
to leave at least one love behind, who, most likely
had to move to a trailer,
and the curls of mermaids
could only be traced
in limestone,
and she would reach down
to the violet clusters
that more than speckled
the green expanse, crushing one gently
to release its savory scent, and wonder
as she found it again on her fingertips
how it was all just there,
free for the taking–thyme,




Here’s a sort of draft poem for Kerry O’Connor’s “In Other Words” prompt on With Real Toads to make a poem using a variation of a title from a novel designated by her, in this case Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.   My poem has nothing to do with Marquez’s book.

I could not find a photograph I had taken of thyme, which grows wild rampantly and has a beautiful little purple flower, so used this picture of a fawn taken last summer.  I am positive, knowing the lawn upon which the fawn stands, that there is a great deal of thyme beneath and around the deer’s hooves. 

Process notes–the poem has several references to “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” by T.S. Eliot.  The Burroughs mentioned is intended to be William Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch and others.   Also, note this has been edited slightly since first posting, a work in progress.  (Ha!)

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20 Comments on “Love in a Time of Thyme”

  1. The Real Cie Says:

    It’s a bittersweet, mysterious world that I have wandered into here. A wonderful poem, sweet and melancholy at once.

  2. C.C. Says:

    You’ve told such a captivating story here, and I adore the way you ended it with the repetition of ‘thyme’—it adds such an other-worldly effect….like the ringing of a bell calling her back to another time/place.

  3. The way a scent of thyme can bring back memories of past times like that. To walk barefoot of a carpet of thyme bring up memories for me too. I remember sleeping in a tent on a beach on such a carpet and I still recall the sweetness of that night. A great narrative poem.

  4. claudia Says:

    how things change and lose their spell if a certain person is no longer with us… the world losing its scent and yeah – a peach is just a peach – and nothing else…

  5. Sumana Roy Says:

    layers of sweetness and melancholy…like a dream breaking…

  6. you weave magic with your words, beautifully written

  7. My, oh, my, this is wonderful.

  8. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    This is just so very beautiful, Karin. I felt moved to tears by the scenes you describe so feelingly, both past and present, the allusions to Prufrock lends a melancholy element and the scent of thyme binds all together. I so enjoyed the reading experience.

  9. coalblack Says:

    Next time I find myself at waterside, I’ll keep an eye out for Abstract Expressionists washing up!

  10. I loved the pome but what I loved the most was the pun in the title. A pun a good poems doth make! 🙂

    Greetings from London.

  11. Brendan Says:

    I got as much “The Red Wheelbarrow” as “Prufrock” in the grand tapestry at the poem’s commencement: the image itself, durable even after the acid rinsings of verse fashion and time. Thyme defeating time because it cannot. Love the angle of entry here, the dangle of baubles that become iconic, how what was so blithely tossed becoming what is most valuable in memory — what and only what survives. The humble flowers with their inexpressible scent.

  12. hedgewitch Says:

    Thyme is often planted between flagstones in formal gardens, so that its scent is released with every step–as here time’s scent is freed with every word, and brings youth to the nostrils in all its innocent intellectual sporting and emotional cascades. Your Prufock references especially are delightful–not too much, just right, and deftly balanced at beginning and end for a full-circle sort of feel that mimics that ponderous but graceful squash of the wheel of time. Such a joy to read your poetry again, k.

  13. grapeling Says:

    that 3rd paragraph is particularly pleasing. i also admire the ease with which you evoke scent, and how it makes me want to rub the leaves between my fingers. ~

  14. How life can change and with it color and scent. The scent of old plaster traumatizes me with the memories it evokes.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      That makes a kind of sense. Plaster has a very strong smell–I tend to be rather allergic to it, but I think my reaction is pretty much physical. Take care, Susie. I hope things are going better. k.

      On Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 12:51 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


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