Friday, June 18, 2010

brief encounter



The folded blade craved my flesh.
No one knew my slender shrieks.
I bolted, mad, to the evening heat,

and hid in the blue of the juniper bush,
hushed the tears, so he wouldn’t hear.

He took my waist, tucked me hard
between his legs, rendered a finger
from my fist, held me fast around the wrist.

My skin opened, but did not bleed,
and spit the splinter like a melon seed.


willow, 2010





I'll never forget screaming as my grandfather chased me with his pocket knife, and how it didn't hurt when he pressed the open blade flat against my finger.


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93 comments:

  1. This is so chilling, I was almost afraid to continue reading...exceptional!

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  2. Were you screaming in fun? Was it a trick knife? Anyway, your writing is so good, running and hiding and being caught and pulled on a finger. Yikes.

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  3. This captures so well a child's unique ability to simultaneously live terror and tenderness in a single instant.

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  4. Techno, it was a real knife and I was screaming bloody murder!

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  5. you had me scared for a second...relief at the splinter...had to have quite a few of those remived in my day...superb write willow...

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  6. Wonderful writing, willow.
    Works on so many levels. I loved "slender shrieks" and the use of rhyme.

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  7. I fell into your trap thinking this was yet another slasher post, but nooooo. Just a splinter. You rascal.

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  8. Oh, this is really wonderful willow. I like it a lot.

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  9. powerful. you had us all on tenterhooks.

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  10. Wonderful! Had me holding my breath for a minute there until I saw where you were going.

    My daughter screams like death is chasing her when we break out the tweezers to help out a splinter....and then she always proclaims that it didn't hurt at all - "remember this" we always tell her, but she always forgets.

    - Dina

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  11. You devil - I was terrified. Wonderful!!

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  12. You had me thinking the worst only to be played a fool. I almost did not want to read the end and when I did...well like said you had me going. Wonderful description.

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  13. Willow, you had me thinking the worst, too. Wow what a sweet story to be startled into. I love this! Brenda

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  14. You got me. Very good right to end.

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  15. My dad used to get splinters out with his pocket knife. I remember being so scared too - but it didn't hurt and it felt so good to get that splinter out!

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  16. Very nice! So many emotions in so short a space.

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  17. you captured the fear so well!
    it's still pretty scary having anything removed or even worse having to be a mom and do it to your own child. eek.

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  18. Loved it Willow! Scarey, fun -just great!

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  19. Painful... but what a relief once the splinter is out.

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  20. What a fabulous way of expressing a wonderful memory.

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  21. Truly awesome poem, Willow. He is determined to help you by removing the splinter and in your mind and eyes he is a monster chasing you with a knife. . .you allow us to see and feel from your childs memory while actually letting us in on what was really the case. .
    wonderful.

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  22. Your writing & your feeling & the emotions.... Thank you Willow!!

    Agneta with love

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  23. I happen to own an Opinel 4" folding knife just like the one in the picture. The wood has a good feel, and fits the hand nicely. The steel is excellent, taking a fine edge. The lock is a ring you twist to make sure the blade cannot again fold.

    I remember my Mother's surgery regarding splinters, cactus spines and the like. I so little enjoyed the attention that I once removed a rather large splinter from my palm.

    I had to use cuticle scissors to cut away some of the flesh. Using the techniques I had learned from Mom, I sterilized scissors and needle, cleaned and dressed the wound. It healed fine.

    Bee stingers can be scraped away using the blade of a knife. Done properly, no additional venom is injected as can happen in plucking them out.

    Great poem. Wonderful pacing and management of emotion through evocative images.

    Mike

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  24. It scared me....I thought OMG...had me going...well done.bkm

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  25. Willow, THAT was perfect. The last two lines.... perfection.

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  26. Wonderful to see an Opinel at the manor. They get everywhere!

    Your grandfather sounds great. Bisou, Cro.

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  27. A striking piece of writing, the third stanza in particular; a very good use of language.

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  28. Hello Magpie/Hatter. Great poem, and brings back similar memories, too!!

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  29. Dear Willow, How very, very evocative this poem is of a moment in childhood, seen from a child's perspective, and recalled years later.

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  30. This is an excellent, vivid memory I never had brought back to me like "wham." I can picture the man's impatience, the child's terror. The satisfaction of the last line-and-a-half is as palpable as it is unexpected - right up until then, I was nearly aghast! "What's he going to do with that knife! Aaaaa!"

    As a totally separate issue, the woman in the header banner has what I can only describe as a stately face.

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  31. yikes...thanks for the explaination..at least he got the splinter out

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  32. My grandfather used his pocket knife to remove splinters from our hands. He was very gentle about it, although I doubt such practices would be given approval today.

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  33. I wonder with what emotions you think about that experience now. A moving post.

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  34. That was daunting. A very good poem, but I just couldn't get rid of that image of running and cutting. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  35. Just so you know, there was absolutely no cutting involved. Grandpa just gently placed the blade flat against the splinter and pushed. It popped out so fast. With five children of his own, he was an expert. But since this four year old had never seen it done, I was certain he was going to slice my finger open!

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  36. Oh this was frightening and I know you said obviously there was no blood and no pain but to frighten a young child like this sounds very odd to me. Great words though, as ever :)

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  37. This terrified me, captivated me.

    Once I found the splinter my fear left me, but I realized how maddening, how painful splinters can be – worth the fear and the shrieks!
    Great writing!

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  38. This one is perfect. It captured my attention with fear and fascination.
    Awesome work! :-)

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  39. You do know how to spin a tale with finesse. For a moment, I felt like I was you, running from your grandfather:) Whew!

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  40. My Dad always had a "little knife" in his pocket and I too had many a splinter removed by the scrape-the-finger-method. It was amazing how many times that "little knife" came in handy. In those days it was de rigeur to have one in one's pocket, keep it sharpened and to use it...wisely.
    Amazing poem. Again, resonance.

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  41. Very well written, Willow, so that we hold our breath in horror until the last words!

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  42. Boy did that bring back a few memories! I was on the receiving end of similar splinter removals with a knife and now my husband tries to do this with our five kiddos. My hubby is not an "expert" yet with this method like your grandpa ~ scares me, and certainly scares the children. They much prefer me with my little needle that I keep in the medicine cabinet for splinters. This one had me cringing ~ great work!

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  43. I too was riveted by this one -- and thank goodness for the last two lines. I loved "slender shrieks" in particular.

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  44. Oh this was wonderful to step into that remembered fear...beautifully written. I so remember my father with his big warm hands and his pocket knife...no need to clean the knife when you could easily run it across a clean towel?!

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  45. Nice story! You had me scared, too. It began so ominously that the ending was a relief. Great writing.

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  46. Delightful ... from beginning to end! I don't like removing splinters, especially from fingers belonging to people I love!

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  47. wow, very powerful Willow!

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  48. This brought tears, especially when reading what you wrote after. I know that would be terrifying but I have memories of my gradfather who is a fisherman and always has a pocket knife.
    A lovely piece.

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  49. This sounds so terribly scary willow.

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  50. Willow, you had me freak out for a minute there. Glad that it was just a splinter. Your poetry is extraordinary.

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  51. I so agree with Lorenzo's comment here. Well done, Willow--beautiful!

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  52. your grandfather is very smart and funny, if he has never scared you at first, you would not recall this...

    thank you for the well rounded magpie!

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  53. This is one of my favourite poems of yours, Willow...I loved its lyrical rhythm, it was a strong and subtle guiding force and linked each of your wonderful words together to create a magical narrative. A brilliant poem and a brilliant Magpie Tale :D

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  54. These brief childhood moments which both scar and grace us live us forever. So beautifully told.

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  55. Way to trick us into thinking the worst , Willow - and then surprise us with a touching ending!

    You rock.

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  56. I couldn't finish reading this at first. Scared me. What a relief when I figured it out. Good job.

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  57. It sounds as if you were terrified. I was in reading your poem.

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  58. Ahhh....an ode to the fine art of splinter extraction! Well done, Miss Willow!

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  59. Willow,

    You are so excellenet with the mystery and drama of a short tale!

    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  60. Nice twist! I felt the terror--and the relief.

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  61. Love, love, love this. You captured the primal fear of a wee one. I remember when I was 4 racing on my trike, mad with fear, from my father who was determined to "impress" upon me his displeasure with me running around in hot and humid Houston without a top. I'm still not sure why that upset him so.

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  62. This reminded me of a twisted Godfather scene in the corn patch...
    Well done! -J

    I, too, have one of those neat French picnic knives.

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  63. WHOA! That was SO DRAMATIC and a bit scary! Funny, how as children moments like that can be so TERROR filled.

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  64. Willow,
    Great poem; however, I am truly amazed at your young childhood memories.... how you can remember all of that stuff is beyond me! :)
    Talking of brief encounters, I would charish the moment if I could say hi to my mom and dad right now. And I know you are right there with me. Have a great weekend! Smiles!
    :) The Bach

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  65. Tender love applied with a pocket knife..guess it's true love is a many .."splendored" thing..enjoyed this right to the last twist.

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  66. Hah! Wonderful poem (and would make a great prose tale, as well). ;)

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  67. What a fantastic end to what I thought was going to be a chilling, terrifying poem--I loved it!

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  68. Awesome! You had me speechless!

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  69. Yikes. I wouldn't forget being chased with a pocket knife either.

    Great poem!

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  70. I love this - I would have been screaming too. I always hated getting splinter & mostly wouldn't let other people mess with them. My mom just tried to make sure the needle was sanitized before I stuck it in my finger.

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  72. Absolutely AWESOME! For me, it was my Father who removed our splinters. You did a marvelous job I was enthralled from the beginning.

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  73. Hi Wills,
    It's been over a year since my last visit. My goodness what changes! My old blog (Listen2Auntie) is dormant, but I've re-emerged with a new travel blog.
    I'm also thrilled to have found your Magpie blog. I've never written from the heart, so now I'm wondering when and how.
    Hmmmmmm...

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  74. A chilling tale, a sigh of relief at the end!

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  75. Nice poem Willow, kept me at edge.

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  76. absolutely splendid! Frightening til the end!

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  77. Ah, the best kind of grandpa. A best read!

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  78. What relief to read your explanation! Great pacing!

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  79. What relief to read your explanation! Great pacing!

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  80. yow - my blood pressure went up on that one - I love your explanation though - I am disarmed

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  81. Rhapsodizing words Willow. Thank you for that sharp splinter removing poem. A good use for a pocket knife.

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  82. You really had me scared there for a while! really wonderful poem Willow!

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  83. You had me going for a bit there. I was sure a henous crime was about to be committed. You conveyed how terrifying things like that can be!

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  84. I thought you were about to be murdered! Very clever!

    Christine

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  85. Oh, good, i Am glad you explained that one as it was somewhat obtuse and I was getting a little concerned there.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)