Thursday, January 16, 2020

The lowly toothpick

It's January... a cold, windy, gray kind of day. What could be a better time to consider the work of the toothpick!  No kidding... I was looking through some of my poems, wondering what to post today, and I ran across this little ditty about toothpicks. So... I figured... why not???

The Toothpick

The toothpick is a tool
That's so simple
Any fool
Can poke one
'Tween two teeth
To get relief

Yet I give that pick
High praise
For its work on
Baking days
When it declares the cake's not done
In bas relief

© Karen Eastlund

The definition of a bas relief is a piece of artwork that is sculpted, carved or molded in such a way that it barely protrudes from the background flat surface.
A bas-relief inside a crypt in Egypt.

Toothpicks have done many jobs, but would you think of a toothpick as a map? Check out this excellent article by William Boyle, full of toothpick lore as well as memories of his grandfather's penchant for toothpicks:

It's Poetry Friday! You can find more poems by following the links on Catherine's blog:
Thanks for hosting, Catherine.

Have a great week, everyone.  


  1. Ooh - clever use of the term bas relief. I do love a vocabulary surprise!

  2. Finally, a poem about toothpicks! I can tell you have a lot of fun with this one, Karen... great job! xo

  3. Wonderful to read about that 'bas relief', Karen & that article brings back so many memories of my older relatives grabbing a toothpick as we left the restaurants! It was a given, wasn't it?

  4. With its bouncy rhythm, your toothpick poem is fun to read aloud. I love the clever ending!

  5. I love how poetry makes us look at something closely. I won't take toothpicks for granted now!

  6. How fun! And, we get to learn at the same time. This is my kinds of poem and post. Well done, Karen! Oh, yes....knowing when a cake is done is not an unimportant job!

  7. Love your poetic toothpick tribute, Karen! Toothpicks are wonderful. I can't count how many craft projects of done with my kiddos that involved toothpicks.

  8. Karen, your lowly toothpick post reminded me of my love of baking. I have moved on from a toothpick to a cake pick to test my treats. Thanks for the links to Boyle's memoir and good luck at the dentist. Your scuphum poem was fun to read.

  9. I do love to bake but I have advanced from a toothpick to a cakepick to test my creations, Karen. What a great poem for your lowly toothpick and thanks for the link to the Boyle memoir piece. I enjoyed your scuphum poem (hope your dental visit made your teeth glisten with whiteness.)

  10. Clever proof that the world is full of an infinite number of topics for poems!!

  11. Who'd have thunk a poem would have been written about a toothpick, as Mary Lee implies above! Amazing. My Kindergarteners are currently poking toothpicks into mini marshmallows for an engineering challenge. Perhaps I should write a poem about the marshmallow's take on this venture!

  12. " declares the cake's not done/in bas relief" made me laugh out loud! Thank you for what is certainly the first poem I've ever read about a toothpick!

  13. Loved the poem and the article that you shared. There are so many uses for such a simple thing!