Turning Over Stones

My daughter  collects stones,

tears them out from sodden soily beds,

or picks them from the pile,

stashes them in pockets

till linings tear

and washing machine clatters

to the awkward beat

of a battered drum.


And though I chide her for the damage,

I know she can't resist

the clasp, the cut,

the spit, the rub

the nub and polish of them,

each stone its own harsh history

through this elemental world.

Concrete, enduring

smooth and alluring

like a semi precious promise

in the palm of her hand.


In the cold light of some other day

she sees them for what they are,

bleached bland,  granite grey,

dried, diminished,

drained of all that energy,

rough to gentle touch,

beyond their natural setting

so much less.


And yet,

my daughter collects stones

fills her bags and boots with them

blackens nail and skin for them

and I have to wonder

at this chip off the old block

never learning her lesson

never giving up

always believing

somewhere deep inside

that the real thing is out there

just waiting to be found.



◄ If you're feeling bored on Wednesday afternoon (30th April) ...

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Fri 13th Feb 2015 19:00

Love this poem, really thought provoking :) Love it!

Steve Smith

Wed 19th Nov 2014 15:10

"The clasp ,the cut/ the spit, the rub /the nub and polish of them"
great stuff.Miss your voice.
Steve Smith

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Tue 9th Sep 2014 16:50

Hi Isobel...lovely poem about finding love again as i recall from your tudor performance? Nicely done...alnost restrained yet full of meaning. Loved it! X

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chris yates

Sun 24th Aug 2014 23:29

Love this poem you read it so well at The Tudor ... loved the line chip of the old block and. not giving up ... the rawness and yet the simplicity of rocks ... rough ... smooth... she stuffs them in her pockets .... irresistible ... brilliant poem xx

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Laura Taylor

Wed 20th Aug 2014 14:07

I don't know how I managed to miss this as I scrolled down, but thanks to Cynthia commenting I've now read it. Can only echo what others have said Is - a lovely poem, this. And I know just what you mean ;)

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Wed 20th Aug 2014 13:32

Isobel, I have missed your work so much. And especially the ones that relate directly to your kids. They just scintillate with the common experiences of us all, brilliantly interpreted through your own skill. This comment is downright OTT, but I don't care.

Dig Fancine's French! It looks impeccable. (Not surprisingly, of course, and only as near as I can remember.)

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John Coopey

Mon 11th Aug 2014 19:02

I do have peonies, as it happens, Iz. But the "stones" I invited my kids to see were really just stones!

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Sun 10th Aug 2014 18:24

All is wonderfully well with me and mine thank you Anthony :))

And thank you everyone for commenting!

This one wasn't meant to be at all sad - though I can see that it's open to interpretation. Full of hope? Yes - most definitely - life is a wonderful thing if you refuse to let it beat you!

John Coopey - do you have peonies in your garden too? I can remember my old dad totally embarrasing me in front of a school friend by using a similar line...

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Anthony Emmerson

Sun 10th Aug 2014 15:00

. . . and her mother collects word, arranging them into wonderful and curious patterns . .

Hi Isobel, hope all is well with you & yours,
A.E. x

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Sat 9th Aug 2014 18:20

Je suis tellement heureuse de te voir écrire encore... cela ne pouvait pas être plus parfait ! J'aime beaucoup ce poème, triste, mais aussi plein d'espoir.

Bisous mon amie :-)

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Harry O'Neill

Thu 7th Aug 2014 22:55

Hi ya Izzy!
No need to start worrying until you hear her singing `Diamonds are a girls best friend`.

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Graham Sherwood

Tue 5th Aug 2014 22:20

Good to see you back by the way. Eat breathe write sleep!

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Graham Sherwood

Tue 5th Aug 2014 22:20

I love the term, semi-precious promise.
I relate this to finding almost translucent shells at the waters edge that gleam, but when they are taken home, dull into mere colour.

The left-hanging parental aspiration at the end is also thought provoking.

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Margaret Holbrook

Tue 5th Aug 2014 21:26

Really enjoyed this one. Not read anything for a while, but to just drop in tonight and find a gem, there's no more to say...

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Candice Reineke

Tue 5th Aug 2014 18:10

Love this, Isobel. Reminds me of my little niece, who is always handing me a new stone or shell and explaining why she chose each one.

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Dave Bradley

Tue 5th Aug 2014 16:47

Good to see you writing again Izz. I enjoyed this - it speaks of the magic that's in the world and the magic that's in a young person's curiosity. I love the idea that each stone has a history.

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John Coopey

Tue 5th Aug 2014 16:30

Very pictorial portrayal of timelessness and longing.
I keep a little pile of pretty stones in the garden. When I ask my kids if they want to see my best stones they look at me with a sad expression.

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