Posted tagged ‘grandmother poem’

The Bits

April 15, 2022

The Bits 

When I have nothing
with which to make
a poem, 

I think of my grandmother, who,
after laying out the pie dough in the pan,
 the fruit, the lattice interlace—in my gloom, the laying out of that limp dough
feels almost like flesh—but it was not
like that at all—the gloom is not in the memory
but in my current

the point is that after my grandmother composed
the pie, there would be the extras–
the snips of dough she’d cut
from the pie’s perimeter, and all those lopped corners left
on the floured waxpaper—

She would roll those in her hands
into a ball. then roll them with
the rolling pin again,
and I would take a glass and carefully press out circlets,
which we would place on a separate baking sheet, sprinkling
with sugar, and those little round cookies
would be more delicious (at least to my childish taste)
than the whole darn pie— 

As you grow old, you sometimes feel that you yourself
are all those bits, your limbs as akimbo as angled dough,
your mind, your life, a bunch of edges that are bridged
by extensive byways, strips of tenuous connection that narrow
and grow wide—this that led to that, that led to that
that led to this and this and this now—

I think of how my grandmother imbued it all
with sweetness, shape—
how one might do that—


Another rather drafty poem for April. Pic and poem mine; all rights reserved.

I wish a happy Passover and blessed Good Friday and just a good day to you all. Stay well, and thanks. And if you get a moment, do check out my new book of stories. “Who Are You Kidding? and Other Stories of Strange Change.”

Wish (3)

April 2, 2016


My grandmother talked of her horses
knowing the way home,
how she could just
let loose the reins—

I wish I knew
the loosening of reins, the letting lead
the soft strong beautiful,
the flank’s dusk-silvered shiver,
the found home of sound steps.

A drafty poem, number 3, for April for my own prompt on horses on Real Toads.  I call this one drafty because I’ve done about fifteen versions and can no longer tell which I like best. Ha!  Will try to keep and review at some later date. 

Pic is mine, watercolor.  All rights reserved. 

“Remembered Blue” Flash Friday 55

January 18, 2013


Remembered Blue

When I think of blue,
my closed-eyes mind sees green–
sheen of Minnesota lawn stretching flat
past pasture, where behind a straggle-wire
fence my grandmother straddled, impossibly,
a horse called grey as white
as her own curls, so very long ago that all
I truly remember is awe
as huge as the sky.


55 belated for the G-Man.  Go tell him to have a great weekend.  You too. 

22nd Day of National Poetry Month – Another Kind of Earth Day

April 22, 2010

22nd day of National Poetry Month.  My draft poem of the day honors “Earth Day”.  A little obliquely, I admit.

One Kind of Earth Day

We dug well beyond blisters.
The earth was not like the dirt at home–
yellow, dry, always hard-packed below
its aura of dust.
This was soil; it held ground, sweat
of its own accord, curled wormlike,
clung rootlike, and was dark enough
that we were sure it hid black crude
just beyond the point of our spade.
When it oozed, then pooled,
our certainty turned to disbelief even as,
Eureka, we ran to tell
our grandmother she’d be rich.
As it was, she had to pay
to get the pipe fixed.



This poem was kindly distinguished by a Perfect Poet’s Award  from Promising Poet’s Parking Lot, a very active website supporting the writing of poetry.   Thank you so much, Ava, and all those being PromingPoetsParkingLot Blog.



I am supposed to nominate another poet from the participants.  Frankly, they are all interesting and promising poets, and it’s a very hard choice, which I’d rather not make, but since I’m supposed to do it, I’ll name NefariousX, a very subtle funny poet I discovered this evening.

Grandmothers – Personal Celebrities – Grandmother Poem

November 28, 2009

I realized this afternoon that it was my grandmother’s birthday.  I’d been all set to write about addiction, particularly those addictions related to celebrity (as in the pursuit of particular people,  i.e. Robert Pattinson, and the pursuit of celebrity itself,  i.e. Michaele and  Tareq Salahi.)

And then I remembered that it was November 28th and that one of my grandmothers had been born well over 100 years ago, in a year in which Thanksgiving fell on this day.

This, in my mind, is much more important than celebrity, though related too in a funny way.

Grandmothers are very special people by and large.  I understand that they can be problematic children, spouses, and parents.  But, for many, it seems, the mantle of “grandmother” works a wand-like magic that enables them to be their very best selves for very long stretches of time.  In that sense, they can be a household celebrity, at least to their young grandchildren;  those same young grandchildren have their own experience of celebrity in the unconditional specialness they are accorded by their grandmothers.  Pretty terrific.

All that said, I’ve always felt that my grandmother was particularly special, and probably her best self her whole life.  Here’s an (illustrated) poem about a day spent with her.  The drawing bears no resemblance (!), but I’m much better drawing elephants than people.

Fishing With My Grandmother (Done With Elephants)

The Time My Grandma Took Me Fishing

Reeds split for our crouch;
she parted her lap around me,
mosquito in ear, white curls
bristling my face.  Our hands laced the green
rod—it was a stick, only truly green
on the inside, like the bubble
of high grass, low crik, thick
with summer.  Safety pin
for a hook;  even she
seemed surprised when the stick jarred,
jerked the thread across the
murk, though she quickly pulled it through
my loosening grip. Both amazed as
a silver disc flashed,  shiny as
the newly bought, through
our homemade afternoon; in the bucket,
an occasional swish of rainbow
that you could only catch
if you really looked.

All rights reserved, Karin Gustafson.

(For spelling purists, “crik” should be spelled “creek”, I know.   I chose this spelling so that non-Midwestern, or Southern, readers would know how to pronounce it!)