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Poetic Keepsakes during National Poetry Month

April 26, 2019


Poetic Day 26 of National Poetry Month:  April 26, 2019, Friday


After searching the Family Tree and the Tree of Life for poetry topics yesterday, let us now take a look in the cedar chest, hope chest, or other treasure chest of family keepsakes.  Can you find a poem inside one of those chests?  Can you pull out a keepsake, hold it in your hands, and allow the object to become your muse for another poem?


I try to use most of my keepsakes–at least, seasonally or periodically–in my townhouse.  I like to enjoy the keepsakes; and I enjoy further preserving these keepsakes with poetry, as the poem-of-the-day demonstrates.  For additional writing ideas concerning your family treasures, refer to the five writing prompts at the end of this WORDWALK blog.


Aunt Zita’s Checkered Tablecloths


poem by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



My north-facing kitchen

catches little sunshine,

but catches many memories.

Atop the maple table–

once-upon-a-time my parents’ table in Indiana–

is a green-and-white checkered tablecloth

that had lain on one of the smaller tables

at my Aunt Zita’s Italian restaurant.

Numerous platters of spaghetti and meat balls

once decorated this tablecloth.

Aroma of my aunt’s sauce and Italian veal

still arise from this tablecloth.

Happy conversations echo over

and around this keepsake cloth at every meal.

Starched, ironed, and blessed many times

by Aunt Zita’s hard-working hands,

this green-and-white checkered tablecloth

lies softly and casually in my kitchen.


Born in 1908, Aunt Zita–

modern, ahead of her times–

would smile at seeing atop her cloth

a Downton Abbey teapot

on a dinner plate from my mother’s china set

and a silver-blue vase filled with pink silk tulips–

because my aunt had a splendid garden of tulips.


As I drink my herbal tea

at this table of memories,

I am nourished by the love and strength

of my beloved aunt and other ancestors.


From Aunt Zita, I have one other tablecloth–

the red-and-white checkered one,

which is always on my table

for the Fourth of July and Festa Italiana.

Oh, what a time to celebrate

food and family!


* * *


Writing Prompts for Day 26 of National Poetry Month


  1. Write a poem focusing on a keepsake which you use.
  2. Write a poem concerning a keepsake which you keep in a cedar chest or other closed space.
  3. Write a poem about a keepsake which was lost or broken.
  4. Write a poem about giving a keepsake to someone of a younger generation.
  5. Write a poem about a cedar chest, hope chest, or treasure chest.


NOTE:  As previously in April, I will not post on WORDWALK during the weekend; however, please return to WORDWALK on Monday and Tuesday for the final two posts for National Poetry Month.  In May, I will return to my traditional practice of posting only once a week–each Wednesday, beginning with May 8, 2019.


* * *


This WORDWALK post and my other posts of National Poetry Month are dedicated

in memory of Deon Patrick Lyons–

poet, novelist, blogger, and friend.


Enjoy this poetic weekend (as we, in Milwaukee, await an April snow)!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


April 26, 2019, Friday



From → Uncategorized

  1. mfanyo permalink

    What warm memories of Aunt ZIta’s famous Italian restaurant, Alice! I also have a red checkered tablecloth to remind me of all the delicious meals we enjoyed at Aunt Zita’s table. Tomorrow I am making stuffed shells with my homemade meat sauce which is as close as I can get to Aunt Zita’s secret recipe. Wish you were here to join us!

    • Hi, Mary–I am glad that you also have one of the tablecloths from the restaurant; memories sit well on such tablecloths.

      Enjoy the stuffed shells!

      Alice and Willow

  2. Katherine Binole permalink

    Alice, you always bring back such wonderful memories in your poems and blogs. This was such a special poem for your Aunt Zita. I, too, have one of each color of checkered tablecloths. I enjoy using them on special occasions. Love, Aunt Kathy

    • Hi, Aunt Kathy–What a special day it is when I find a comment from you on my WORDWALK blog!  Especially with this poem about Aunt Zita, I am delighted to have your comment.

      Enjoy a wonderful week!

      With love and thanks, Alice and Willow

  3. PJ Lumb permalink

    Hi, Alice! I so enjoyed this poem. I was there in the kitchen of your Aunt Zita’s, seeing and smelling the heavenly piles of pasta with meatballs. Hungry just thinking about it. You have taken another simple concept and used it to paint beautiful memories with your words, once again. Thank you! Best to you and Willow!

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