Caroline Misner

The Old Tin Jug

Rust has burrowed black holes
through its porcelain skin;
bullets have punctured the tin, a firing squad
having battered it out of shape;
little remains of its creamy glaze.

It was already a corpse when I found it 
hidden among the brown brush 
by the abandoned homestead overlooking 
the lake, where dun hills rush down
to the valley, and beyond

grope the murky shores, already rimmed
with ice, like lace, thin as paper
and as cold as the heart that shot holes through
the pitcher; I thought I would keep it,
a useful planter in the spring.

Oh, daddy, did I disappoint 
when I fetched it from its grave of weeds,
the veils of rust and amber that shrouded
it like a sickly bride?  You wondered
what use I would have for such a relic;

it can’t even hold water, its heart
annihilated and pocked with holes,
though the sun still filters through its light
to fill its hollow bowl;
by now it would be buried in snow.

It sits by the woodstove now,
leaning like an exhausted old man
against the stone, warming its marrow
in the firelight, heat seeping through
the holes and fingering the room

like so many jaundiced eyes.
It needn’t a purpose;
It just survives.


Greetings one and all and welcome to my brand new website!  Please bear with me  portraitI work on filling its pages with news and musings. Being technologically challenged, it may take a while to work out some of the glitches and I hope to have it finished within the next few weeks.  In the meantime, please feel free to browse through the archives and have a look at some of my work.  I've been writing poetry ever since I could remember and I've decided to include a section of Juvenilia in the archives.  Most of the poems listed there were written in my early teens and many of them are just plain awful!  But a few gems do stand out and I hope you enjoy them.  Also, if you would like to know more about me and the work I do, please feel free to click on "About".  There I have posted a brief biography of myself.  I'm not trying to be falsely modest, but I really loathe bragging about myself.  I feel an author's work should stand on its own merits and where an author was born or where she lives or what she eats for breakfast are completely irrelevant.

I would also be remiss if I didn't included a big Thank You! to my oldest son, Kevin, who with a friend designed this website for me and programmed it so that even I could manage it.  And another big Thank You! goes to my dear father Jan Kurz, who was in on it the whole time and provided the stunning photography behind the text of the daily poem.  And another big Thank You! goes out to all the editors, publishers and fellow writers who have supported me and my work over the years and gave me a chance when I needed it, including a Journey Prize nomination and two Pushcart Prize nominations!

"...And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt."
--Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)