Memory's a thing of the past.
Hoards of fragments, dredged
and fired by desires to cling, to tell
to forge all those thens as now.
In laying down layers of bedrock
we mine our personal geologies.

One word can begin the dig,
It halts now at mineralogy.
Yet long before my tongue twisted
round such a cumbersome sound,
I was hooked. Along the classroom walls
glass cabinets of curios, unearthed.
Fabulous petrified forms
some clear as ice yet warm

To touch, kaleidoscopes of crystal.
And myriad metallic glitters
- enough to tempt a Midas.
Rainbow haematite in silver-grey
and locked within, a prism.
My small hand chipped one sliver.
Such modest greed and yet it seemed
I too took fire from gods.

Windows of glowing gems
still captivate, for moments only.
I've diamonds from a grandmother
emerald engaged in a ring
and two small rubies for my ears.
All closeted away but on the windowsill
a clear quartz cluster
pointedly picking out sunlight.

For my Poetics Prompt, we recall something from our past or write of what evokes our memories: In The Light of Other Days

54 thoughts on “Magpie

  1. I remember those ‘cabinets of curios’ in museums – the Natural History Museum has some great ones. Nowadays museums go over the top trying to make the surroundings so fancy you lose the impact of the artefacts. This evoked fond memories for me!

  2. This is gorgeously rendered, Laura! I especially admire; “One word can begin the dig, It halts now at mineralogy. Yet long before my tongue twisted round such a cumbersome sound.” 💝💝

  3. I love that ending – the generosity of semi-precious stones – not valuable enough to hide away, beautiful enough to lift the heart. And I loved those old museums. The Natural History museum in Dublin was like a museum of a musem for years. I’m not sure if it’s been redesigned yet.

  4. Words, images and smells–all triggers and gateways to the cloistered treasures of yesteryear, and the traumas and joys connected to them. An evocative and clever piece; I enjoyed it.

  5. The language of this is crystalline, quarried by memory from vaults located somewhere between the imagination and the heart. A precious lode, this poem. And the identity in these facets goes far beyond human time. The inhuman includes the plant world, the mineral and the stellar too. Old memory in those cases. Great poem, well carved.

  6. In a poem packed with treasured lines, I found “I too took fire from gods” just so powerful, and all leading up to it. Thank you for such a lovely poem.

  7. I like this more each reading – very evocative and moving
    For me it is smells – wet fern and chamomile recalls childhood holidays in Cornwall; Maxwell House Coffee my Uncles’ farm in Kent; cedarwood incense the retreat centre in Shropshire…

    And music – certain songs from the sixties and early seventies. A Whiter Shade of Pale and I’m back at the local lido; early Leonard Cohen and I’m my teenage bedroom…

    Anyone else?

  8. This is wonderful Laura. Beautifully written, and very captivating! Such splendid memories, so well expressed. I have a “?relative?” (husband of my wife’s cousin) who is a dedicated “rock hound”, as he is self-proclaimed. Going to their house is amazing, like being in a natural history museum. He takes the family on spelunking vacations.

  9. Beautiful, Laura… I like your opening line a lot, and this one also stands out to me:

    I too took fire from gods.

    I like the metaphor you used throughout 🙂


  10. And you have the gems (enough to tempt a Midas) to go with the memories. How precious this is. I sure liked the lines: To touch, kaleidoscopes of crystal.
    And myriad metallic glitters
    – enough to tempt a Midas.
    Thanks for sharing, Laura. Lovely.

  11. I am a magpie around stones.Each one I bring home comes with that memory. The map of Africa I use to sign off my blog posts – I remember where and when, the walk together on a busy road, quietened for major repairs. And now it all sits comfortably in the palm of my hand.

feedback is food for thought....

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