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Below is the poem entitled ALCHEMY which was written by poet Cyndi MacMillan. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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The calendar reports that February will be a short month. It lies. February is shackled to each of its endless, grey hours and this month will be cold and draining. People have packed up their Christmas lights. All is bleak, and my kitchen window has betrayed me.

frost on the pane 
constricts a view to blanched roofs-
windchill factor

Winter is pummeling the region with frigid fists. Today, I will cook with spice. Though some prefer the familiar respites of creamy potatoes or fresh baked bread, I long for my taste buds to tingle. I have been gifted three hours, time enough to saturate my senses. I’ve gathered my ingredients and start to prepare two dishes.

stinging tears
mingle with home comforts  –
minced onions

Cooking this way is intoxicating. I loose myself in texture and aroma. I turn the volume up on the CD player, allow the notes to stir me as I stir tea.  The music is sensual, evocative.

I tap a spoon
on a chipped cup that steeps chai –
Bollywood soundtrack

I forget the subzero temperatures, the punishing trek through snow with a large bag of groceries. My hips pick up the rhythm and respond to a tune that I can not translate but somehow understand, for the song is filled with longing. My feet move and the steps are defiant. While meat browns, I turn my back to all the white, the icy sidewalks and the clouds that have become ever-present and I glide to my spice drawer. 

I am making butter chicken, knowing it will tantalize the tongue, readjust the temperature gage. There is alchemy to spice. The magic begins with Garam masala. Later, turmeric’s pledge will be accepted by cumin. I take a deep breath and let the the fog of flavour chase away each chill. 

curry and cloves
transform the ordinary –
taste of India

Next, I begin on a recipe which I’ve modified. It is not quite Coque au Vin. I dredge the meat in Herbs de Provence. Root vegetables blend with crispy bits of bacon and chicken stock. Then, I combine fresh herbs, tuck them into cheese cloth, set it afloat and let the satchel share its wealth. 

savoury branches
wilt as broth simmers   –
bouquet garni 

I take my time tidying the mess which I’ve made. The poet in me takes a second look at the meals which now cook side by side, like twin continents on my counter. The cultures are distinct, west and east, and yet the aromas easily accommodate each other. There is no division, no conditions, no restrictions. Two territories, well seasoned and season-less. 

the warmth of the world 
escapes in steam from crockpots–
my contented sigh

Again, I inhale. Tonight, we will feast.  A view of the outside no longer matters. This small space has suddenly grown. Time has flown and winter will not cross this doorway.

I will not let it. 

Copyright © Cyndi MacMillan

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  1. Date: 2/12/2013 7:04:00 AM
    Great unique creative work that you have penned..Congrats on your top win..Sara

  1. Date: 2/7/2013 2:08:00 PM
    What an exquisite write! Congrats. I can see the frost fade and a glowing warmth surround as I read this. :) Tanya

  1. Date: 2/7/2013 10:44:00 AM
    Cyndi, Congratulations on your winning "mixed up poem." Have yourself a nice day~ :-) xox~PD

  1. Date: 2/6/2013 9:10:00 PM
    FABULOUSSS!!!! Big Congrats!!! You make it look so easy!!! Well Done!!! Love you bunches!!! Deb

  1. Date: 2/6/2013 12:45:00 PM
    A well deserved first place. A magnificent poem.

  1. Date: 2/6/2013 9:37:00 AM
    As I am reading this, I am transported to your warm hearth - the haiku and the prose join seamlessly to entice our senses. Congrats on your win, Cyndi.

  1. Date: 2/6/2013 8:07:00 AM
    Wow, BIG congrats on your win in Debbie's contest! This is flawless. And now I'm hungry :)

  1. Date: 2/6/2013 7:16:00 AM
    Congrats Cyndi on your super win, I loved your recipe of success from the very start xxx

  1. Date: 2/6/2013 3:42:00 AM
    Wow this is a stunner well done xx

  1. Date: 2/6/2013 3:12:00 AM
    EXCELLENT!! really. this is awesome work Cyndi! And I am impressed by your knowledge of "chai" and the hip gyrating Bollywood music and "garam masala". This is a most deserving first prize win.

  1. Date: 2/5/2013 10:23:00 PM
    Wowzer !!! Fantastic write...and you didn't stop with one !! lol Worthy win !! Congrats !!

  1. Date: 2/5/2013 8:39:00 PM
    well done Cyndi... great read ... Seren

  1. Date: 2/5/2013 7:47:00 PM
    A very well deserved win, Cyndi! Congratulations! I think my favorite line is, "Two territories, well seasoned and season-less. " To me, it pulls the whole haibun together with winter. Very, very excellent. I see..... I shall have to really pull one out of my hat for Debbie's next contest, because are sizzelin'! :) Love and hugs, Catie :)

  1. Date: 2/5/2013 6:24:00 PM
    Congrad's Sis..everyone should know you wrote 2 haibun before you were satisfied and submitted this one. Love Ya

  1. Date: 2/5/2013 4:48:00 PM
    Not only as I cook, but as a poet, I read this as if I am in your kitchen, in your shoes, putting together this wonderful meal of words....So amazingly real....and I can't decide if my favorite part is the prose or the haikus.....they are wonderful each in their own right (write). Terrific!! Kuddos to you!

  1. Date: 2/5/2013 4:38:00 PM
    Yeah, this haibun is a deserving topper, just for the fact(without even over-analyzing content)that you used multiple haiku and sections of prose. If one uses only one haiku and section of prose, then I enjoy an emotive style like Catie's example, or strong landscape imagery, were the imagery in the haiku equals the prose, just like in Joann's example in this contest. Either than that, I enjoy multiple haiku/prose, just like in your haibun here. I am impressed by this haibun. P.S. - Just because I don't: "!!!! WOW! WOW! !!!!", doesn't mean I don't like the poem I am commenting on. I have a casual, calm commenting voice :D

  1. Date: 2/5/2013 4:19:00 PM
    Exceptional piece, congratulations

  1. Date: 2/5/2013 4:12:00 PM
    Good God !! Debbie didn't say we would be going up against professionals--It's just not fair----Am I whining? Way too good Cyndi !!

  1. Date: 2/5/2013 8:19:00 AM
    If you make this sound any more tempting I'll just show up at your doorstep, this is what I call show don't tell, and with this the reader can jump right in, you just brightened my day Cyndi I so badly needed it today, enjoy your diner with gusto, and may God bless your little family, I can see your little girl and her cherub eyes, saying Mom Thank you. I thank you too, love xxxl

  1. Date: 2/4/2013 9:33:00 AM
    Cyndi, this is amazing poetry a cut above the norm... just love this....