Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Things That Stay Behind


Things That Stay Behind
(A 55)
Things that stay
behind memory's cold coals:
child's slipping skates
clipped with a key,
grandfather's rough-work hand
velvet on cottonpuff cheeks;

the margin of wild
the great lake stole from concrete,
that wish washed blue home where
only gulls screamed;

how suddenly it came, the frayed
squall of your kiss
at high water
washing childhood away.
November 2021

 posted for dVerse Poets
a talent taken too soon
Images: Sunset Squalls at Connemara, © Fay Collins  Fair Use
Vintage roller skates, Photo by Sam Figueroa via Flickr Creative Commons  Fair Use


  1. Wow, that is a savage ending, the swooping predator the dawdling innocent never sees coming. I love the description of the grandparents' world, a sanctuary and safe harbor at least for a time. And that painting really does remind one of Lake Michigan, doesn't it?

    1. Thanks, Shay. Yeah, I've changed the ending to be a bit less severe as I hadn't meant it to sound that way.

  2. Beautiful poem! I love where this painting took you!

  3. That ending really hits hard... those childhood memory, and how soon it was taken away. That kiss really sounds more predatory than a first sweet love.

    1. Thanks, Bjorn, for your feedback.I changed the wording a bit as that wasn't the feel I was going for,but sometimes we're too close to see what we just wrote. Appreciate it.

  4. Beautifully evoked, that accumulation of detail works so well.

  5. "how suddenly it came"--so much of life is like that, exactly.

  6. Each memory evoked to detailed perfection, Joy, especially that third stanza,"margin of wild," "wish washed home," one can almost hear the waves lapping at the concrete.

  7. I'am glad to read the whole content of this blog and am very excited,Thank you for sharing good topic.

  8. I can nearly see your grandfather's hands, who I understand raised you, so clearly.

    Since I'm later to the read, didn't see your first version, but this ending reflects back to the first two lines of the 2nd stanza to me - the slipping, the clipping, the key. There's more than a glimpse here into the narrator's past ~

  9. The poem is gathered "from behind memory's cold coals," and a life's gatherings are vaulted there. Loved the collation of childhood moments with the one in which it ended. Have a kick ass Thanksgiving.

  10. Stunning concept...and what an ending...

  11. So quickly a childhood can be obliterated. A fine response to the painting!


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats