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Diane Hine

(25 July 1956)

Materials Science


I remember a good restaurant I
used to frequent back in the Seventies.
I’d fill the sink with water as hot as
my rubber-gloved hands could stand and wash stuff
in batches; crockery and cutlery,
saucepans, ramekins, skillets, roasting pans;
but always glassware first before oil or
butter sullied the suds. I’ve forgotten
the names and faces of chefs and waiters
but I still remember the wine glasses
because some (quite a few) did not survive
the wash. I found incriminating cracks
when I towelled them dry. I tried slowing down.
I no longer tossed them in, but laid them
in tenderly. Inexplicably, the
breakage rate increased, as did my concern
since my kitchen hand career was at stake.
I started afresh with a refilled sink.
My gloves slicked a glass in a pre-wash check
for flaws. I lowered it towards the suds.

A soap bubble puckered to kiss a drop
of wine through the wet bowl. The bubble’s lip
stretched as the glass slipped in. Pressing deeper,
I met slight resistance before water
found the rim and slid inside to mingle
with the wine. Chink! A tiny plaintive note
lost in the discordant kitchen clatter
was caught by my youthful ears and conveyed
to my youthful brain where it found a chink
between the disordered cells; amorphous
like soft grey glass. I raised the glass. A piece
was missing. My left hand retrieved it. The
raw edge traced an invisible stress line,
dune-curved and spurred; the signature of a
noncrystalline form, or an eddy of
glassblower’s breath. Chink! The wineglass might have
survived a plunge, but not the hot and cold
contrast of partial immersion. So I
remember the sound; as if a sand grain
sang its release from vitrified service.

Submitted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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  • Unwritten Soul (9/22/2013 2:37:00 AM)

    Not many write like this style and idea, i love the original Diane style...you always picked subject differently and useful...i love you mixed experience thing and lesson in this..science is part of your write..i know i am right! _Soul (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (9/14/2013 7:59:00 AM)

    Through experience and close observation, we learn many lessons! Yes the thin wine glasses cannot survive the hot and cold contrast of partial immersion and chinks can appear! The incidents leading to this discovery, years back is so vividly and beautifully described here! (Report) Reply

  • Dinesh Nair (9/12/2013 6:33:00 AM)

    If you were Diane, a teacher how effectively you would teach this simple science in a class room of kids little and big, I am wondering. Your poems continue to be educative even many here beat about the bush discussing the hypothetical conventions of philosophy outdated. Thank you Diane for this sharing... (Report) Reply

  • Danny Draper (9/11/2013 8:24:00 AM)

    A fine write on the observations of the everyday world of science and its practical application and our abity to observe and interpret physics and other principles. Loved the way the water entered the glass and bubbles extended with surface tension, just beautiful. The last sentrance is sublime. (Report) Reply

  • Danny Draper (9/11/2013 8:20:00 AM)

    A fine write on the observations of the everyday world of science and its practical application and our abity to observe and interpret physics and other principles. Loved the way the water entered the glass and bubbles extended with surface tension, just beautiful. (Report) Reply

  • Danny Draper (9/11/2013 8:19:00 AM)

    A fine write on the observations of the everyday world of science and its practical application and our abity to observe and interpret physics and other principles. Loved the way the water entered the glass and bubbles extended with surface tension, just beautiful. (Report) Reply

  • Thomas A Robinson (9/10/2013 10:34:00 PM)

    But glass is a liquid, so ever slow it flows.
    Hot breath on a frozen glass and it shatters so.
    So be the wary one unless your finger grieve
    Luke warm sometimes is all that it is we need (Report) Reply

  • Aftab Alam Khursheed (9/10/2013 9:27:00 AM)

    a onomatopoeic poem, me seems words used is like speaking to reader the kitchen and its beauty and burden every thing the concluding / remember the sound; as if a sand grain sang its release from vitrified service//to change into glass very fragile nice to read DIANE (Report) Reply

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