Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reminiscing Before Selling the Family Home

I find barnacles on the bottom of our old sailboat
Upturned tortoise-style in the backyard
They are brittle as a gang of great-grandmothers

And easily scraped off with just my bare hands
I fire them effortlessly like I used to throw snowballs
Over the peak of our bungalow's roof, now burnished copper

Drenched by sunlight soon departing the day
The yard becomes a blur once the sun deserts the sky for real
Until my eyes adjust to dusk's bathing every blessed thing

In rough memory I see mother laying beneath the elm
Her skin the chalky colour last it was after they cut her down
Even blinking rapidly will not dispel that flinty image
And tears long thought dried up sit bitter on my tongue

It's hard not to think about the men swaddling her like a mummy
No— more like something cocooned really— before taking her...
Body bags were not yet the in-transit fashion for corpses, I suppose



  1. Wow. I love "And tears long thought dried up sit bitter on my tongue" This is a hard wrought write. It pulls at that place where sorrow gapes and swallows...

  2. I don't think those tears ever go away... especially when revisiting those places. I love this, Sharon. That first stanza blew me away!

  3. That fourth stanza took me by surprise. The first three lulled with their nostalgia, then the pain of the mother's death was a punch to the gut. Well done.

  4. An unexpected turn in this Sharon. I could feel the pain, it was palpable.


  5. Wow, Sharon....this saddens me. Your words captured the scene vividly. One is never ready to lose a mother....ever.

  6. Your poem is tragically beautiful. You made wonderful use of the words in the wordle. Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. I hope you will find your way back again.

  7. Sharon... You have come close to outdoing yourself... simply exquisite :)

  8. I love a lot of phrases here, Sharon. I can hardly repeat all. For instance, I am charmed with this comparison "They are brittle as a gang of great-grandmothers". I think the best thing with wordles is that it makes poets include a lot of imagery. And I just adore imagery and such vivid descriptions that in fact reflect the picture in your soul and your mind. A nice story this poem tells. Sad and sweet.
    Best, M.

  9. I agree with Mariya on two counts, I love the line "They are brittle as a gang of great-grandmothers." and that we as poets get to craft our visions with words that we might not normally choose.
    I have moved so much in my life time, that I think when the time comes it will be difficult to leave this last home of ours because we have been here the longest.
    My family is very involved with the volunteer fire/rescue service so your last stanza resonated with me. One year our eldest did a Houdini trick which required him being zipped up in a modern body bag. Though we were never in doubt that he could escape I am sure some of his props seemed scary to others.
    My offering on this wordle is here...

  10. Wow, I was there. And I like how the place naturally brought up thoughts and emotions. Reminiscing is in the title, but the poem begins with action - I like that, throwing those barnacles.


  11. Superb images lulled me into such a comfortable place. I had to reread the first and second line of that forth stanza to be sure I read it right. But then that is how tragedy would feel... you have to go over and over it in your head and heart.

  12. This is a truly brilliant piece, Sharon. It must have been difficult to put it all together in a poem.
    "Brittle as a gang of great-grandmothers" is sheer genius.

  13. Commenters through around superlatives kind of lightly - but this is really an amazing poem. The beginning descriptions are so original and aptly beautiful; the end, of course, is chilling; your tone throughout understated. It's just incredibly well done. Everything supports the whole, the barnacles clinging like the memory, salt on your tongue, even the rigidity. Agh. It is just too sad. k.

  14. "Brittle as a gang of great-grandmothers" is a fabulous line! Our memories tell the story of who we are. A tragic glimpse into a poignant experience.

  15. Excellent write. It had me captured all the way to its unexpected and sad conclusion.

  16. I'm wrong. I thought I had been by your poem, but your page is sitting open waiting for me.
    While I was pulled by the poignancy of what is happening in the poem, the image of the boats, keels up, tortoise like, won't let go. Possibly it's that I have been working on a tortoise poem, but the image is not going anywhere.
    I have this grief still waiting.

  17. LOVE this:
    "Even blinking rapidly will not dispel that flinty image
    And tears long thought dried up sit bitter on my tongue"


  18. Exquisite reflections. I taste the tears.

  19. Thanks to all of you for coming here, reading and commenting so kindly. Once I had the first image for this - the rest just sort of unfolded and I'm happy to hear that things like "brittle as gangs of great-grandmothers" went over well ... a phrase that sounds right, then over the top, then maybe okay and so on ... I do so appreciate hearing what everyone has to say and try to get around to as many others as possible. I cannot believe it's Friday already again but can't wait for the next set of words! Happy wordling everyone - thanks again!

    1. Don't comments sometimes help you see a poem more clearly? Thanks for coming by so frequently, you always have great insights.