poetry and prose about place

collecting glass animals

with 4 comments

Today, I cleaned my collection of glass animals.  Cleaning them takes a long time since I don’t clean them often.  I wash each piece in soapy water and air dry it on a towel.  As I work, I enjoy their sparkle and I think about how I got each piece.  Since most of them are second-hand, I think about the unknown people who owned them before me.

Most of the animals in my collection belong in one of three categories:  covered dishes, candle holders and dresser jars.  A couple of the pieces belonged to my Mom.  A couple of them are pieces she gave me as gifts.  The rest, I found over the years at antique stores or auctions.

some glass animals

The covered dishes are mostly hens or chickens…

hen dishes

My favorite hen dish is a funny round chicken in clear glass…

clear hen dish

I also have a rabbit in this collection…


and a duck…

clear glass duck

I have a few glass birds of various colors.  Each bird has a berry in its beak, and a hollow in its back to hold a candle…

glass birds

I’ll show you some of my dresser jars in the next post.

Do you have a hen dish among your dishes?

blue hen dish


Parting the Collection



to collect: to gather together

these prisms

of glass and light

took a lifetime

what will become of them

when what becomes of me?



collect: a short prayer

from a mouth like dust


I bid for each

between Limoges and Occupied Japan

with a steady hand

and a palpitating heart




feathers pressed into glass

bird in the house

at the window


cut crystal

edge of flight

from the menagerie


ruby swan

amethyst bee

topaz duck


glazed eyes



lenses rise in your throat

siliceous gasses

burst from your beak

as a berry


past and future



shards of glass

shared among

my daughters

do not understand

the meaning

of collection


do not know

a Sybil

rises in your beak



Published as ‘Parting the Collection’, The Antigonish Review 95, Autumn 1993


blue glass bird with berry in its beak


Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

January 23, 2013 at 7:36 am

4 Responses

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  1. Wonderful collection, Jane. I do, indeed, have a hen dish. It looks a lot like the one in the upper right on the second image.



    January 31, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    • Hi. They are fun to collect and I often see them at antique stores, although these days I try to resist since I have no more room! Jane


      jane tims

      January 31, 2013 at 7:16 pm

  2. The vintage covered animal dishes are great!

    I always put off washing my glassware for as long as possible–but once I do it, I love how shiny and sparkling it looks.



    January 24, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    • Hi. Once you’ve washed it, it doesn’t matter how many times you did before!!! Jane


      jane tims

      January 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm

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