Sunday, 13 April 2014

“Eden” didn’t work out

In the café din
of clinking crockery
and espresso hisses

- with book and crossword -

we glugged away the hour
in slurps of coffee 
and delicious 
java wafts that drifted
round the folds

of Gogol’s Overcoat 
and my enigmatic newspaper clues.

He read, more and more, 
engrossed with each turn of a page

while I attempted to squeeze
words into boxes.

Until at length, I muttered, with frustration:  
“Eden” didn’t work out.

He nodded, empathetically,
and we laughed together, then . . .
as is our way.

notes:  It seems to me that almost every other crossword puzzle I do has "Eden" in it - the obvious clues, of course, but also references to the old Sitcom "I Dream of Jennie" and even __ Prairie, Minn.  Generally, I've found, that when it comes to crossword puzzles, at least, "Eden" does work out.  Smiles. 

The Overcoat, is a short story by Russian author Nikolai Gogol, published in 1842.  The story is open to many interpretations but it is agreed:  it inaugurated a new perception in which the underdog is treated as a human being with as much right to happiness as anybody else.   Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote:  We all come out from Gogol's Overcoat.
photos:  Coffee House – W. Bourke 

© 2014 Wendy Bourke  


  1. seems to be a bliss of retired life..with leisure, togetherness and crossword...lines exuding happiness and relief....lovely :)

    1. So true, Sumana - and when you catch a little joke between you (that has taken a lifetime to get to) . . . wonderful!

  2. I loved that! "Eden didn't work out..." The Eden line would have had coffee coming out my nose...
    Sounds like a moment between two people who know each other well...I can picture my husband and me in the same scenario! Some days we make our "coffee house" right here at home!

    1. My husband and I often read and write quietly together and, from time to time, when one or the other of us is caught by an incredible line of prose or poetry or a crossword puzzle clue – a remark comes out of nowhere (OK – usually by me) that takes on a comic life of its own . . . I think because we have such a shared history.

  3. Love the intimacy you've created in that bubble within the clatter of the coffeehouse ... and there's nothing like the 'aha moment' of a statement made casually that turns to a joke between friends ... this is a great atmospheric piece, Wendy!

    1. Thank you, Susan. I tried to create that feeling of comfortable intimacy that two people, who have known each other forever, have . . . when they are together in a pleasant place, doing nothing particularly special.

  4. ha. fun stuff...we love going to the coffee shop...funny how that snip of conversation eden did not work could be taken so very differently if someone overheard

  5. So true . . . On occasion, I have accidentally overheard an out-of-context snippet of conversation, that has definitely left me wondering.

  6. I can picture this scene so very well. As warm a scene as the coffee you were drinking. Yes, "Eden didn't work out" can be taken in SO many different ways. Ha, before I read your explanation, you had me back in the Adam and Eve story, and I found myself nodding...nope, Eden didn't work. didn't.

  7. Descriptive, intimate. And then the zinger, which I always look forward to in your poems: Eden!

  8. How nice it is to doing it all together. Promptings can give a jolt for ideas fast as 'Eden" sounds loud and clear. Wonderful write Wendy!
    P/S Sincere apologies for not responding to earlier comments. Was frantically searching for your blog not realizing I had it all along at my Blog list. Will remember it in future.


  9. No problem, Hank. And thank you.

  10. Haha! I love this snapshot..the humor, the relationship...a thoroughly enjoyable read.

  11. I so the feel of this little snapshot--this could be me and my husband at Peets--just a wonderful piece Wendy!

  12. Wendy what a lovely scene you created! Could feel the warmth, smell the wafts and feel the comfort of well worn contented love :-)