This was my mother's grandfather,
the nurse told me in a whisper,
and I believed it.

He was old enough to be anything,
his forehead a craggy cliff,
bristling with blackberry-vine eyebrows.

I leaned closer to listen
as his voice scraped slow across his throat,
his chin wagging with effort.

Finding the right words was like
finding a needle on the forest floor
muffled for decades in layers of leaves.


  1. So beautiful, Claire! I love the descriptions especially in stanzas 2 and 4.

    1. Thanks! This was an exercise that Mr Rench said he did with the Wordsmithy as well... to write a poem using a certain number of words from a given list, also incorporating a new twist on a familiar phrase. The words I used were mother, cliff, blackberry, voice, and needle.