Burlap Memories

Standing in a burger shop line, bags of peanuts.

Burlap bags. Coarse. Greasy. Rough to touch.

I let my fingers drift across their surface.

Memories flood me, stagger me there.

Old men drowning kittens in sacks.

Angry at their fight to live. My anger at them.

Decorative pieces, crafted and abandoned.

Unloved by all except the artist, discouraged.

Potatoes, grain, coffee encased in their fibres.

Memories come through touch, smell, sight.

I shudder, and my husband puts his arm around me.

He thinks I’m cold, and I let him.

Too hard to explain how much I hate

that burlap sack of innocent nuts.

I rub my fingers on my jeans,

waiting for the greasy fries to

wash away the burlap scent again.


For With Real Toads, ‘A Word with Laurie’. Surprised myself with where this went but when poetry comes, you take it as it arrives. Β You don’t close the door on your muse or she may sulk away.



  1. November 24, 2012 at 3:10 am

    Oh my word…your muse was eaves dropping on my past…I used to have a recurring nightmare about kittens being drowned in a sack. Wow…and after reading Shay I had a discussion with her about it and then the next place I visit is you and I read this!! Wow…I’m kind of creeped out! Ha! πŸ˜‰ Nicely written, Shanyn.

  2. kateri said,

    November 24, 2012 at 3:12 am

    The scent of burlap brings back strong memories for me–most of them positive though. I’m thankful old men drowning kittens in burlap sacks wasn’t part of my childhood. That sent chills through me.

    • shanyns said,

      November 24, 2012 at 4:01 am

      I am thankful it wasn’t part of your childhood too! No one needs that! Glad you enjoyed the poem,even the chills.

  3. Laurie Kolp said,

    November 24, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Oh, I love how you incorporated the senses so vividly… sorry about the memories, though/

    • shanyns said,

      November 24, 2012 at 3:53 am

      Glad you enjoyed the poem. It’s okay about memories, they lose their badness in the light of poetry I think! πŸ™‚

      • Laurie Kolp said,

        November 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

        True, that…

  4. November 24, 2012 at 6:01 am

    There is such power and pain in this. I too have written some of my worst memories into verse….I call it my pencil therapy.

    • shanyns said,

      November 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Pencil Therapy – that would be a great book title…and of course I can’t steal it now cause you know I think it is a great book title! LOL…thanks Susie.

  5. jasmine calyx said,

    November 24, 2012 at 6:33 am

    I really like this: “Unloved by all except the artist” … and the ending. So sad.

    • shanyns said,

      November 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Jasmine, but there is hope too. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by.

  6. November 24, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Hey Shanyn!

    Remember me? I used to blog over at prozacblogger, but I’ve been doing the same as you ever since I’m back: writing poetry and stories πŸ™‚

    Nice poem! It’s amazing how a thing like peanuts can pull you back to such memories, isn’t it?

    I’m just happy you found a creative way to vent these memories and I hope it helps.


    Daan van den Bergh

    • shanyns said,

      November 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      How could I forget? Glad you are back with us, thanks for coming over. What’s the link for your poetry? I was thinking of doing some short stories soon. Yeah the little things trigger the most sometimes.

  7. Mary said,

    November 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Wow, I have never experienced people drowning young animals in burlap sacks, but I definitely can understand that if one views this it will live in one’s mind forever. I do think that poetry is a good way of dealing with this kind of memory…a strong poem!

    • shanyns said,

      November 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks Mary. It helps the healing to use poetry, gives an intimate place but more distance than prose which seems to much for me sometimes.

  8. Helen Dehner said,

    November 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I never saw it … but I heard the grown-ups talking about it … when there were a few too many cats running around the farm. I still remember how I felt hearing the stories … never mind witnessing any of it.

    • shanyns said,

      November 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Ah so little need for so much cruelty…or is it a lack of regard for life? I don’t know, I just know it haunts me sometimes still. Thanks for coming by.

  9. Marian said,

    November 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    ugh, your poem seems to go far deeper than even the horror of drowning kittens. i wanna hug you!
    i wrote about kittens being drowned, too. or, actually, about the one who survived πŸ™‚

    • shanyns said,

      November 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks for the hugs, hugs back to you. Glad one of yours made it.

  10. Bodhirose said,

    November 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Burlap carries some deep memories for me too…yours are more chilling and painful. I really enjoyed this…well done.

    • shanyns said,

      November 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed the poem. Thanks for coming over.

  11. November 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Shanyn, thanks for sharing this poem with me on Twitter. You have such a way with words and poetry. You make me feel what you felt. That is great for a writer to be able to do that. I don’t have any stories of cruelty towards animals when I was a child. I have lots of memories of cruelty toward children in my family. It is sad that any of us have these memories to deal with.

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