Thursday, May 04, 2006

Guest Contributor - Sharon Robinson

Introduction: Sharon and I have been good friends ever since we met in a creative writing class back in the 1970's in Southern Illinois. Although I moved away a few years after we met, we have kept in touch with each other. Currently Sharon is working on her grandmother's biography. It was my privilege recently to read an excerpt from it about a famous tornado her grandmother witnessed as a youngster in 1925.

Sharon has been writing poetry and short stories for many years. She has a knack for taking ordinary things, such as dried Lima beans, and instilling them with meaning. She admits that her poem about dried Lima beans has "hidden" meaning which she hopes will manifest itself if the poem is read slowly and thoughtfully. So, read it slowly and thoughtfully then tell us what you think about it.

Sharon Robinson

Dried Lima an jar.
They were displayed...on the cabinet
.........just for decoration.

A long time.... they had my grandmother's jar.
I am not....particularly fond
.........of dried lima beans.

For almost 24 hours...they the refrigerator.
I knew these..."now old"...Lima beans
.........might be "dried out."

They started on high...and cooked...on five hours.
The thought of... "slightly soft" reality
......... "hard as a rock."

I should have given...those dried Lima my mother
...years go. I should have displayed...Great Northern my grandmother's jar.

I was...,once upon a time,...fond of Great Northern
....flavored with a ham bone. They would not have..."become old,"
..."dried out," ..........and "hard as a rock."

Now, those Great Northern the jar...are
NEW...ready to soak and cook.
I am fond of...Great Northern beans...
cooked with an onion...
and served with


  1. What a wonderful friendship to have, and hang on to, Susie Q. How fantastic that the two of you can continue to talk, and promote each other in such a positive way.

    Very interesting poetry.

  2. I'm still trying to understand the meaning of Sharon's poem. It sounds like Sharon was hoping to make something (represented by Grandmother's Lima beans) useful out of something that was past it's prime but to no avail. Then later she was able to make something useful out of something newer. Maybe this was her way of saying that she abandon the way her Grandmother thought and did things for a newer idea that fit Sharon's current life. Just a guess.

  3. Thanks Barbara and Jenni for your comments.

    I might have a bit of an edge here, because I know Sharon. She is a very practical and responsible person with an intuitive mind.

    She says that the lima beans had been sitting on the cabinet just for decoration and for a long time. She says that she isn't even fond of lima beans and prefers great northerns instead. So, why didn't she get rid of the lima beans much earlier before they had dried out to the point that they were no longer of any use for food?

    I think it was from habit that she kept them there on the counter all that time without using them. Only when she tried to use the beans did she realize that they were no longer useful and had never really been useful to her in particular, because she wasn't fond of lima beans in the first place.

    Sometimes we hang onto old habits, old ways of doing things, old ways of thinking about things that serve no purpose, do not bring us joy or fulfillment, and may actually be harmful to us. Maybe these habits are formed due to an outside influence from someone in our lives.

    We continue to go about doing the same old things, thinking in the same old ways, again and again, without being conscious of it. It is only when we take a good look at our habits and put them to the test, like Sharon did with the lima beans, that we can truly assess our habits for their value to us.

    This poem is about becoming more autonomous, more assertive, and more honest, too. It is about being able to say in all honesty "I don't like lima beans. I like great northerns."

    This is what I got from Sharon's poem. But one thing that baffles me is why she would think about giving the lima beans to her mother. Maybe she can tell us why.

  4. I took Sharon's advice Susie. I abandon trying to make sense with people that won't.

  5. Well, I must give credit where credit is due. Susieq did a great job arranging my poem when my mind was too tired to get it together. Many thanks!
    I must also say, "thank you" for all
    those kind words and comments.
    To answer the question, "Why did I
    think I should have given the lima
    beans to my mother?" I am very practical. I never waste food. I have known what it is to not have much food, that I could eat. It's
    that simple.
    Susieq, you did a great job of finding those hidden meanings. I
    must admit there are a few
    more though. S-t-r-e-t-c-h those brain cells.

  6. Sharon, all I did to your poem was add some periods and center all the lines. Big deal.

    Oh, no...another cerebral work-out? My brain is exhausted from my first attempt to unearth the meanings hidden in your poem. There is more to it than what I found? Okay, I will attempt to resuscitate what is left of my brain and prepare for another excavation. :-)

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