A Pot of Broth is my latest blog. My name is Barry Carozzi. I am a father (of five), a teacher, writer, singer, song writer, poet, ukulele player, a student …
I recently read the book Lives by Peter Robb. Robb introduced me to the term multi-hyphenated identity. It’s another way of thinking about multiple selves. For many years self help books emphasised the notion that we each have a true, authentic self. But Robb writes about the multiple complexity of our many selves. It’s not a new idea, of course. William James, regarded as the ‘father of American psychology’, referred to each human being as a tenement of clay. Our bodies house a wide variety of selves – or ‘part selves’.
In this tenement of clay
The teacher is reading the set texts under his lamp preparing the next day’s lessons writing comments for hours
His ally, the performer, stands before the audience and sings ‘And the band played Waltzing Matilda’ Some people wipe a tear away
The poet pen in hand stares at his other hand that holds a grain of sand that holds a universe he watches as the sand grains slip through the neck of the glass
The father worries that his daughter is late
A little boy riles up at his uncle’s teasing and throws the green truck straight at his head! Blood from the gash in his uncle’s forehead Forms a small glob, a triangle of blood
A wise old man looks back on seven decades
An athlete lengthens his stride along the back straight and for a moment he is flying
A lonely child sits in a corridor watches others go by in twos and threes and feels sad for a time
A rebellious son cuts through the multitudinous strands that his mother has knitted about him Cuts through them one by one severing his mother’s umbilical knitting to escape.
We are many, we who occupy this tenement of clay sometimes we get along and sing our songs in harmony At other times, there is bedlam here Everyone shouting and wanting to have their own way
A Pot of Broth will consist of poems, photographs, opinion pieces, essays. It will be a collection, a pot pourri, a patchwork quilt, a gallimaufry. The title – A Pot of Broth – comes from the famous play by the poet W.B Yeats. I studied the play at Moreland High School, in Melbourne, Australia, in 1956. I was in Year 8 at the time.
A homeless man arrives at a farmhouse, and explains that he can create magnificent soup: all the farmer needs to do is provide a saucepan and some water. The farmer agrees, and the wanderer produces a stone from his pocket. He explains that the stone has magical properties.
He puts the stone on to boil. After a time, he tests the soup, and declares that it tastes beautiful. All it needs, he tells the farmer, is a little salt and pepper. The farmer provides the necessary salt and pepper. The old man tests the flavour again, and explains: “It is almost perfect … all it needs is some beans and peas … just a few, to enrich the flavour.” The farmer provides the ingredients.
This happens again and again. The old man asks for carrots, potatoes, cabbage, barley, lettuce … and so on. And in the end, the soup is indeed magnificent! And all made with just a saucepan full of water, and a stone.
Comments to this site are very welcome.