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“Do you know, Grandpa, this book has seventeen

chapters, and I’m on chapter fifteen,

‘The Forbidden Forest’?” “I didn’t,” I say,

“That’s excellent!” and this seven year old,

who has mastered the use of apostrophes,

curls up, like the proverbial worm

on the sofa, and continues to read

‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’.

I am re-reading, in English,  ‘Le Grand Meaulnes’.


In the garden, using extended loppers,

Grandma is cutting choice blooms from a rose

we have had some thirty years, a rambler

as high as our upper floor and worthy

of Sleeping Beauty’s entranced gardens.


I look up to watch my grandchild read. My pride

tempts me to ask fatuous questions –

“Are you enjoying it? What’s it about?” –

then speak of alchemy. Humility

prevails. I hear Grandma in the kitchen.

She is hammering the ends of the stems.

The deep scent of the roses, from wherever

she has placed the vase, enters the lounge

like a wisp of sweet smoke.




© Copyright David Selzer
3 Responses
  • John Huddart
    January 26, 2018

    I wanted to insert ‘metaphors’ where you have used ‘loppers’, but I think that’s what you were thinking of anyway!

  • Ashen Venema
    January 26, 2018

    It’s the lucky ones who have a poet as granddad.

  • Mark Chapman
    January 28, 2018

    A beautiful poem!

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