For dverse. I hope this counts as a poem.
The stones in the path
We would watch for the bus going past on the lane, know it would stop outside Mitchell’s barn, run out the back gate up the farm track.
The pavement of stone flags outside the houses was cracked sunken, unused.
The ruts were deep, full of coloured stones, green and blue, not river-smooth, not pebbles, bright and sharp as flints.
We’d run and she’d be there, turning into the track ,with her shopping basket and handbag, wearing her white suit with dark blue spot-and-shadow markings, like the breast feathers of a great solitary bird. An osprey maybe
Her shoes were dark blue, with laces and tiny holes in the leather. Her hair was a white bob, cheeks apple-round with smiling.
I’d get there first, hang onto the shopping bag, peep inside, the deep blue-purple of chocolate bars, and I would smile back,
turn my step to hers, walking, still hanging onto the bag, chattering, though that world is silent now.
That world is silent, but I remember every green stone, every throb of the starlings’ babbling on the telephone wires, every pulse of that warm, haunted heart.
even in the puddles
38 thoughts on “The stones in the path”
I feel the poignancy of the loss of your grandma, Jane. This is so beautiful.
She was an exceptional woman.
I can tell. Your words share that so well.
Oh this is so beautiful, Jane. Such wonderful memories.
Was she the one who told you stories?
She told us stories, but was more inclined to give us stories to read. Folktales and mythology. My great-grandmother and great-aunt told us stories. I remember loving the Oscar Wilde stories best.
Oscar Wilde stories like she knew him?
Ha ha! No, though an aunt and uncle in Wicklow knew Brendan Behan. They knew the stories he wrote for children, The Selfish Giant, and that terribly sad one about the statue of the prince and the swallow.
Oh. Hahaha. I will have to look up the stories.
They made me cry.
A fantastic memory 💜
Do you remember those small Cadbury’s bars? The chocolate was as thin as Christmas decorations.
Yes indeed I do , I recognised them in your poem 💜
‘Is this poetry,’ you ask? No worries, Sister. If somebody asked me for an example of the perfectly poetic haibun, I’d direct them here, to this outstanding recollection. Thank you.
Thanks Ron. I hadn’t intended to write a haibun but the phrases didn’t seem to want to make ‘poetry’ lines.
I second Ron ❤
Thank you xxx
I can hear the crinkle on that purple foil! lovely, detailed memory, Jane. The haiku is very poignant. a bittersweet counterpoint.
Thank you 🙂 She was a big part of my life.
So beautiful and heartfelt Jane. She blessed your life. 🙂
She did. I hope we made up in some way for the sorrows in her life.
This poem just slays me, the poignancy harking back to those early years that loom so large in memory now. I especially love her suit “like the breastfeathers of a great solitary bird.” And I can see her, with her white bob, “cheeks apple-round with smiling.”
They were the days when families stayed very close, only a few streets or a bus ride away. I missed having that proximity when I had children and now that I have a first very small grandchild, the distance is still a burden.
That silence still sings vividly. (K)
I realise that I have to consciously ‘turn on the volume’ with my memories. Otherwise they are vivid films with no sound.
I never thought about sound as related to memory. Songs definitely bring things back.
You’re right, they do. Smell is apparently the post persistent sense, but I know that I have to really search for the sound in my memories.
A delightful haibun for a delightful grandmother, Jane, and wonderful memories! I love the close descriptions of the stone flags and the stones in the ruts. My nan always had a handbag and a shopping bag or trolley. And the haiku is just the way I remember things.
Thanks Kim 🙂 Her handbag weighed a ton. Full of pills. Doctors would never prescribe drugs in that way now.
This is a truly wonderful descriptive haibun Jane. You use the form so well..
Thank you. It wasn’t intentional. I set out to write a poem, but it didn’t work that way.
Sometimes that happens! 🙂
I love the way you describe those days that encapsulate everything a grandmother was. and that haiku, in the end, is just innocent sunshine.
You’re right, some people take up such a place in our lives, that almost everything they did is full of what we loved about them.
OMG! You took me there. Luv the sunlit puddles too.
It was a magical childhood, thanks in part to my gran 🙂