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March Slice of Life No. 12

The prompt…
Today’s poetry prompt in Laura Shovan’s annual poetry project (we are writing poems about food each day):

Day 11. Cheese of any variety . . . my photo . . . taken in The Cheese Shop in Williamsburg, VA.

–Linda Mitchell
Photo by Linda Mitchell
The Cheese Shop, Merchants Square, Williamsburg, Virginia
(used here with permission)

The backstory…
When I first read the prompt, I thought of mouse traps and cheese which made me start singing “Three Blind Mice.”

I pushed that out of my head only to have “The Farmer in the Dell” pop into it. You know the words-
The cat takes the mouse
The mouse takes the cheese
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The mouse takes the cheese
The cheese stands alone
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The cheese stands alone.

Well, I quickly cleared that one out of my head only to have it replaced by “One. Two. Three. Cheeeeeeeeeeez! Was this the seed of a poem?

After a cup of coffee, still thinking all-things cheese, I remembered “pot cheese.” When I was a child, my mother made pot cheese in our basement — a cheesecloth bag heavy with the resting curds, hanging from a 2 x 4 supported on the backs of two wooden chairs, suspended over a large bowl to catch the whey. My brothers and I were duly warned to stay out of the basement.

Ah, memories of this simple cheese making coupled with memories of delicious curds tossed in wide egg noodles which had been tossed with onion sauteed in butter… Ah, those memories called for an ode. And so I wrote. Or maybe I should say, my ode wrote itself while I held the pen.

The draft…

Ode to Pot Cheese

Oh, Pot Cheese,
soft and crumbly,
your crumbles are
drier than cottage,
moister than farmers
unaged, you’re perfect
in so many ways!

Milk over low flames
is how you began.
Then given some vinegar,
you were set to rest.
While you rested,
you cooled;
While you cooled,
your curds ripened;
While your curds ripened,
your whey separated—
dripping, dripping
through cheesecloth
that held you.

Ah, Pot Cheese,
sweet and creamy,
favorite of my childhood!
I’ll spread you on toast;
I’ll toss you with noodles;
I’ll savor you on a spoon.

© 2019 Alice Nine

Thinking about my writing…

Most of my writing in response to an online challenge with a writing community is a rough draft with only superficial revision and a quick edit.

Since my time to write is very limited, I ditched the rhyming that is often typical of odes and wrote a free-verse ode. {Is there such a thing?}  I also wrote a short ode for the sake of time. If I ever revise this ode, I might lengthen it by developing the significance of pot cheese in various dishes mentioned in my final stanza… perhaps giving each dish a stanza. Maybe. Or I might deliberately work on the rhythm to create a more musical flow. Maybe. I doubt, however, that I would add rhyme.


Want to read a recipe for making pot cheese?
{No, I’ve never made pot cheese. This recipe calls for lemon juice instead of white vinegar that my mother used.}

How about some ode history from

Want to learn about writing an ode?
{I my opinion, it’s a lot of emotional “talking” to an object.}
–From Scholastic (in the elementary classroom)
–From Poetry Power: Six Tips for Writing an Ode
–From ThoughtCo: How to Write an Ode


March 2019 SOLC–Day 12
Thank you to
Two Writing Teacher