About: A Pot of Broth

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.


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