There is a little "put-and-take" shed at our local transfer station. It usually contains an array of unwanted items, many in need of repair. I like to wander through and imagine people cleaning out closets, basements, and pantries.  Are they moving to a new home, downsizing, or just a conducting thorough spring cleaning?

Occasionally, I drop off a few things, but I try to avoid bringing home items because I don't want to collect more stuff. Yet … I picked up this plate, and somehow its strangeness convinced me to bring it home.

The rim contains pictures of hinges and drawer handles.  The center has a picture of a cheerful gentleman / pirate / town crier?  His head is open on top, and his hat connects to his neck with a handle, leading me to believe that he is actually a mug.  The pipe that lies in front of the mug is about the right size for the person on the mug to smoke. To whom does this pipe belong? I find the scene confusing. Maybe I am missing something that would have become clear in the context of an entire place setting.

Now that I have washed it and studied it, I will probably return it for the next passerby to ponder.  A silly poem for a silly plate:


Gentleman with an Affable Grin

There once was a man with an affable grin
that stretched from his cheeks all the way to his chin.

We so loved his face that we made it a mug.
We passed him around, and we all took a chug.

We so loved the mug that we gave it a pipe.
The mug didn’t smoke – it wasn’t the type.

We so loved the pair that we made them a plate.
We ate every dinner straight off the man's pate.

It’s been many years since the man came and went.
Now no one recalls ever seeing that gent.


In other news, it was my pleasure read Carol Labuzzetta’s Picture Perfect Poetry: An Anthology of Ekphrastic Nature Poetry for Students. I want to offer a special thank you to Carol for her dedication and perseverance in creating this anthology.  Incredibly, she completed this project over the course of several months!

I was overjoyed to see gorgeous photos and wonderful poems from so many Poetry Friday friends!  I would like to share one of my poems that Carol selected:

Fiery Friend

I know you from
tigers and tangerines,
carrots and parrots,
saffron and sunsets.

You mingle with
goldfish and marigolds,
campfires and cantaloupe,
corals and orioles,

but I did not expect
to find you in forests
dressed down as

Happy Poetry Friday!  Please visit the kind and wise Patricia Franz for this week's Poetry Friday gathering and to share her adventure planting seedlings with The Sugar Pine Foundation!


  • Tracey, what a great poem you wrote about that silly man. It's perfect! May I suggest you leave a copy of your silly poem taped to the silly plate before you drop it off at the put-and-take shed. It would be a double find for the next person. Your poem has me reconsidering my favorite color. Now I think it might be orange. You have so many orange items that the colors just dance all over your poem. Those orange mushrooms are amazingly beautiful!
    • Denise - what a great idea!  Someone would find that poem and plate together and probably get a laugh.  Thank you!
  • This plate has done its work -- inspiration for the WIN! Such a fun poem!! I agree with Denise that the poem definitely needs to be attached to the plate when you return it. 
    And I love how this post (and the "put and take") push back against permanence and our buy-it-new culture. 
    • Thank you, Mary Lee!  I love the put-and-take concept. More than once, I have brought a dusty-something home, washed it, and took it back knowing someone else would appreciate it.
  • Poem are everywhere. What an unusual plate and I applaud your inspiration to celebrate this man, pirate, or whoever. And we can't say we have never seen this gent! Congratulation on your publication! Lovely fiery friend! It's the same color as another flower I saw recently, the Torch Lilly.
    • Janice, thank you for mentioning the Torch Lilly.  Of course, I had to google it right away. It's very unusual!  I have never seen a little shaped like that!
  • Such a cool shed, Tracey! Like a Little Free Library! I'm surprised something like this can be contained to "just a shed." It feels these days --by seeing yard sales -- that there is an awful lot of stuff people want to dump. Now, to your pirate/gent -- I remember my mother-in-law had a similar mug. Perhaps a cousin to this jolly guy? No pipe though. I think you've taken ekphrastic poetry to the 3-D level with your inspired couplets! And beautiful, beautiful Fiery Friend. So many gorgeous words for orange! 
    • It is a lot like a little library, now that you mention it! How interesting that you have seen a similar mug!  I searched online and could not find anything to help provide its backstory.
  • Love your silly poem -- was there any info on the back of the plate? You're right about the man -- he's a toby jug and it looks like that's a clay pipe -- I have both -- got them in England, and was wondering if your plate is English ironstone. And congrats on having your fungus among-us poem in Carol's anthology!! 
    • Good question, Jama!  I will have to check and see what is on the back! I had never heard of a Toby Jug, so I had to search on that.  Thank you for telling me!  I am always amazed by how many things I don't know! : )
      • Found your affable man grin pattern on eBAY -- not a plate but a berry bowl:
        Didn't see any plates per se, so maybe your piece is more valuable . . . :)
  • I've never heard of the phrase 'put and take' though in a favorite mountain town, there is a "free bin" that holds many interesting things, and a few needed ones, like coats! Your poem is awesome, Tracey, just the right rhythm to me because it seems as if the plate belongs in an old tavern, with people dancing to a jib! Yes, like others, add the poem if and when you return the plate. And, I love your 'seeming' ode to those orange mushrooms, crying out to be seen, right? And love the list of other orangey objects right beside them! Thanks, Tracey!
    • Thank you, Linda.  I think the free bin must be similar!  Always nice to share things throughout the community.
  • Tracey, I like so much what you did with all the fiery orange words in that poem, and "dressed down as commonplace"--let's hope the fungi don't get word of this diss and come after you!  Enjoyed the tale of the plate, too.
  • Tracey: The little plate certainly played a pivotal part in inspiring your poem. I found lots of fun there! I do love your fiery friend poem. Every time I get to the end I have to laugh at "fungus!"  They are a beautiful shape and color, nonetheless. Beauty can be found in some strange places, right?
  • Inspiration can come from such unique places! You 'dished' out the perfect poem for that smiley gent, Tracey. And orange you clever with your forest find poem? Yes, you are!
  • What a great find, that plate. My aunt has a shelf of mugs that look like that. There is a name for them--I don't recall what it is. But, I've never seen a plate like that. Your warmth and humor come through with gentle and pleasing rhyme. How fun! Great poem and story.

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