Growing away

For the dverse prompt, a 144 word (exactly) story incorporating the line from Liesel Mueller:

there is nothing behind the wall
except a space where the wind whistles.’

©Christine Matthews


When I was small, the path to school followed two sides of a high stone wall. There was no door, no entrance, and I told myself that there was a magical garden full of trees and flowers on the other side, where no snow fell and no farmer shot the pigeons.
I grew up and, hating the cold northern place, went away, only returning to clear out my parents’ home. Wandering the streets in search of memories, I came to the wall, walked around the third and fourth sides until I found the door.
I stand here now, feeling the tremor of childhood magic, turn the handle. It isn’t even locked. There is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles, and dead leaves pile in nervous drifts. But among the leaves lies a child’s winter scarf and a dead pigeon.

Some words

The dverse prompt this evening is to write about the art of poetry. I think this poem is a draught, to be worked at and refined. I don’t often do that, but maybe the subject warrants it.


There are some words that never can be said,

And some songs that never should be sung,

While the sun is sinking in the sky.

There are some places we should never go,

Some dark and silent corners of the past

That should lie untouched beneath their withered shrouds.

The words that hurt or open half-healed wounds,

The songs brought in poor baggage wrapped in sighs,

The tears that glisten in an old one’s eye,

This beauty, terrible and fierce, that I

Would paint with cries of cub and kit,

In falcon feathers across the wintry sky,

Is all, of life of love,

And the quiet of solace of death.




For the dverse prompt.


Each gust tears a little more of the scenery,

plucking dry orange-peel leaves, one by one

from windy branches, sending them fluttering

like small brown birds.

There were orioles in the trees once,

now robins lord it about the woodpile,

bramble patch shrinks where persistent donkeys graze

And the fox rambles after dark,

and the owls drift in the night,

here and there,

like ships lost at sea.

Morning comes, sometimes misty,

sometimes frosts crunch a bit more of the summer

and we forget how green was green.

Sky rolls in a kaleidoscope of cloudy colours,

where the moon drifts in the daytime,

and the sun wraps itself in pale veils.

No moment is the same as the one before,

no bird flash of wings or fluted call.

Just blink and the little red deer is gone.