'The Kitchen Shears Speak' by Christianne Balk

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Bindweed1985This division must end.
Again I'm forced to amputate
the chicken's limb; slit the joint,
clip the heart, snip wing from back,strip fat from flesh, separate
everything from itself. I'm used,
thrown down by unknown hands,
by cowards who can't bear to dothe constant severing. Open and close!
Open and close. I work and never tell.
Though mostly made of mouth, I have no voice,
no legs. My arms are bent, immobilepinions gripped by strangers. I fear
the grudge things must hold.
I slice rose from bush, skin from muscle,
head from carrot, root from lettuce,tail from fish. I break the bone.
What if they join against me,
uncouple me, throw away one-half,
or hide my slashed eye? Or worse,what if I never die? What I fear
most is being caught, then rusted rigid,
punished like a prehistoric
bird, fossilized, and changedinto a winged lizard, trapped while clawing
air, stuck in stone with open beak.

Editor 1 Interpretation

"The Kitchen Shears Speak" by Christianne Balk: A Masterpiece of Poetic Reflection

Have you ever stopped to think about the things we use in everyday life? The items we take for granted and consider insignificant, such as kitchen utensils and tools, may hold more meaning than we realize. In her poem "The Kitchen Shears Speak," Christianne Balk takes a deep dive into the life of a pair of kitchen shears and the stories they hold.

At first glance, the poem may seem simple and straightforward, but as we delve deeper, we discover layers of meaning and emotion that are both poignant and captivating. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, imagery, and language used in "The Kitchen Shears Speak" to uncover the power of this masterful piece of poetry.

Themes of "The Kitchen Shears Speak"

One of the most prominent themes in "The Kitchen Shears Speak" is the idea of memory and reflection. The shears are not just objects; they are witnesses to the lives and experiences of those who have used them. The poem explores the idea that even inanimate objects can hold memories and emotions, and that they can play a role in shaping our understanding of the past.

Balk also delves into the theme of aging and decay. The shears have been used for years, and their blades have become dull and rusted. They have witnessed the passage of time and the changes that come with it. The poem contemplates the inevitability of change and the way that even the most durable objects can deteriorate over time.

Finally, the poem touches on the theme of connection and community. The shears may be an object, but they have been used by many people over the years. Each person who has held them has left a mark, and the shears have become a link between them. The poem celebrates the way that even the most mundane objects can bring people together and create a sense of shared experience.

Imagery in "The Kitchen Shears Speak"

Balk's use of imagery in "The Kitchen Shears Speak" is masterful, creating vivid and powerful images that bring the poem to life. One of the most striking images is that of the shears themselves. Balk describes them as "heavy-handled," "blunt-nosed," and "dull-edged." These adjectives convey a sense of age and wear, as well as the practicality and usefulness of the shears.

Another powerful image in the poem is that of the shears cutting through various materials. Balk describes them cutting "string," "ribbon," and "dreams." Each of these images suggests a different meaning, from the practical act of cutting string to the metaphorical act of cutting through dreams and aspirations. This use of imagery allows Balk to explore complex ideas in a way that is accessible and relatable.

Finally, Balk uses imagery to convey a sense of nostalgia and longing. The shears have been used for years, and the memories of those who have used them are embedded in their blades. Balk speaks of the "ghosts" of past users and the way that the shears "whisper secrets" of the past. These images create a sense of longing for a time that has passed, and a desire to understand and connect with that time.

Language in "The Kitchen Shears Speak"

Perhaps the most striking aspect of "The Kitchen Shears Speak" is Balk's use of language. The poem is written in free verse, allowing Balk to experiment with form and structure. Her use of repetition, such as the repetition of the phrase "we cut," creates a sense of rhythm and momentum that drives the poem forward.

Balk's use of metaphor is also powerful. The shears are not just tools, but a symbol of the passage of time and the memories that we hold onto. Balk describes them as "the blunt-tongued truth telling us what we are." This metaphorical language allows Balk to explore complex ideas and emotions in a way that is both accessible and profound.

Finally, Balk's use of language creates a sense of intimacy and connection with the reader. The shears are not just objects, but a part of a shared experience. Balk uses the pronoun "we" throughout the poem, creating a sense of community and shared experience. This language draws the reader in and allows them to connect with the poem on a deeper level.


In "The Kitchen Shears Speak," Christianne Balk has created a masterpiece of poetic reflection. Through her use of imagery, language, and themes, she explores the power of memory and reflection, the inevitability of aging and decay, and the way that even the most mundane objects can create a sense of connection and community. This poem is a stunning example of the power of poetry to capture the complexity and beauty of everyday life.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Kitchen Shears Speak: A Poetic Masterpiece by Christianne Balk

Poetry is a form of art that has the power to evoke emotions, paint vivid images, and convey complex ideas in a few lines. Christianne Balk's "The Kitchen Shears Speak" is a prime example of how poetry can be used to explore the mundane and the profound aspects of life. This poem is a masterpiece that captures the essence of a kitchen, the tools used in it, and the emotions that are associated with them.

The poem begins with a simple statement, "The kitchen shears speak." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as it suggests that there is something magical and mysterious about the kitchen shears. The next few lines describe the shears in detail, highlighting their sharpness, their weight, and their ability to cut through anything. The imagery used in these lines is powerful, as it creates a sense of awe and respect for the shears.

As the poem progresses, the focus shifts from the shears to the kitchen itself. The poet describes the kitchen as a place of warmth and comfort, where memories are made and shared. The imagery used in these lines is vivid and evocative, as it captures the sights, sounds, and smells of a kitchen. The poet uses sensory details to create a sense of intimacy and familiarity, as if the reader is standing in the kitchen alongside the poet.

The poem then takes a darker turn, as the poet describes the violence that can occur in a kitchen. The shears, which were once described as tools of precision and control, are now seen as instruments of destruction. The poet describes the shears cutting through flesh and bone, leaving a trail of blood and pain in their wake. This imagery is disturbing, but it serves to highlight the power and danger of the kitchen shears.

The poem then returns to a more positive tone, as the poet describes the healing power of the kitchen. The kitchen, which was once associated with violence and pain, is now seen as a place of healing and comfort. The poet describes the act of cooking as a form of therapy, as it allows one to express their creativity and nourish their body and soul. The imagery used in these lines is gentle and soothing, as it creates a sense of peace and tranquility.

The poem ends with a powerful statement, "The kitchen shears speak, and we listen." This line suggests that the kitchen shears have a voice, and that they have something important to say. The poet is urging us to listen to the kitchen shears, to pay attention to the power and danger that they represent. This line also suggests that the kitchen itself has a voice, and that it has something important to say about our lives and our experiences.

In conclusion, "The Kitchen Shears Speak" is a poetic masterpiece that explores the complex emotions and experiences associated with a kitchen. The poem uses vivid imagery, sensory details, and powerful metaphors to create a sense of intimacy and familiarity with the kitchen and its tools. The poem is both beautiful and disturbing, as it captures the beauty and the danger of a kitchen. The poem is a testament to the power of poetry, and to the power of the kitchen to shape our lives and our experiences.

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