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Grandma at the Window

Grandma at the Window

Grandma sat at the window

For hours,

With her laced brogues planted

Her hands gripped in her lap

And her pale lips prim,

Staring into the street below.

When I was seventeen I thought:

What does she see down there?

What goes on – to interest her

So intently – for hours?

I wanted to push in front of her

And block the window,

To take her gnarled fingers

Into my eager young hands;

I wanted to smash her solitude!

But some inherent wisdom

Stayed my ignorance

And I refrained.

Somehow, I understood …

Grandma was not alone.

It only seemed that way

To seventeen.

Grandma sat with memories

Of unseen people and places –

Happenings –

More real to her than each breath


Under the glittery brooche

Pinned to her breast each day.

Her solitude was bearable;

But the tension of her thoughts

Was greatly troubling.

I remember turning away,


‘When I am eighty-five – alone –

With the memories of my life –

Will my fingers clamp together?

Will my mouth be so sour?

Will my spine press up severely?

This image of Grandma at the window

Is a crystal message.

When I am old, what will I look like?

I must think about that -




Cynthia Buell Thomas

44 lines

◄ Beloved

Cliches ►


<Deleted User> (8043)

Sat 17th Jul 2010 13:20

It made me think of that greek story, where people turn into trees? I think it was Ovid... But the line 'gnarled fingers' really brought it to life for me. I found this avery thoughtful piece - reflective, and a glimpse of a moment.

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Bernadette Herbertson

Wed 14th Jul 2010 18:14

I think this poem is wonderful .Having been a carer of the elderly for many years I can relate to this poem very well. I would like to say hi to you Cynthia it's Bernadette here we met at Steve's open mike last september. It was my first time there and I was with my friend Linda. Your husband read something out for me as I was too shy to do so.I remember so well he was writing a book and have often wondered if he has published it ? Bernadette xx

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Ray Miller

Tue 13th Jul 2010 13:37

I like the poem. Could be shorter perhaps but the sentiments are well expressed. I wonder about "crystal message", though. Is she not more warning than message?

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Tue 13th Jul 2010 10:58

When I am old I want to be be 'soft-lipped' and still 'emotionally pliable', not rigid with regrets and bottled-up anger. Or was it stoicism, and physical pain that caged her in? Bravery that would not, or could not, be shared because no one was left who 'knew' her anymore? Does old age have to be a lonely business?

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Andy N

Tue 13th Jul 2010 08:09

possibly my favourite piece of yours to date, cynthia.. Loved it but it was very very sad

<Deleted User> (8394)

Tue 13th Jul 2010 07:17

This made me feel quite sad really Cynthia, I expect a lot of people will relate to the feeling of wanting to reach out, but not wanting to intrude, or feeling it is futile, love it.

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Mon 12th Jul 2010 22:04

I would agree with the rest Cynthia - a reminder to us all of what awaits us and the need to make the most of life now, perhaps. I like the picture you have drawn - you can so imagine the brooch, carefully chosen each day and just what lies beneath...
A very haunting piece.

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Lynn Dye

Mon 12th Jul 2010 21:12

Wonderful poem, Cynthia, I really enjoyed the contrasts in this. Well done, Lynn xx

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Gus Jonsson

Mon 12th Jul 2010 14:30

Whilst the poem is superb the first stanza is ...rare...really Wonderful.

I was spellbound, caught up in the contrasting images.... of the young Lady?... and her Grandmother.

Well done!

Gus xx

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Dave Bradley

Mon 12th Jul 2010 13:29

I was strongly gripped by this Cynthia. A simple direct focussing on a universal experience from some moments and a strong image in your own life. Would probably perform well too.

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