Missing pieces

Once —
before he bowed to age,
he sieved his syllables from books,
wringing substance
into notebooks.

Once —
he still believed
his puzzle could be laid;
now — he listens to the sand
and has ceased to search
for missing pieces,
lost, mislaid.

By Jared Tarbell – Flickr: sky puzzle, CC BY 2.0,

Mish hosts the Quadrille tonight at dVerse. A Quadrille is inthis case a poem of exactly 44 words containing the given word.

July 30, 2018

36 responses to “Missing pieces

  1. Ah Bjorn….first stanza I thought we were perhaps coming to a visit with the librarian again.
    There is a sadness to this piece….the elder ceasing to search for pieces…many of them mislaid or forgotten.

  2. Another jinx! We have the same title! I love your poem, Bjorn – it has to be the librarian bowed to age and sieving his syllables from books.

      • I would watch my mother struggling before she became non=verbal. She would try to say a word, like jacket. You could see the frustration in her eyes as she tried to pull the word forward, to put it into a sentence. Heartbreaking.

  3. A sad, yet truthful tale is this; smile. I think in the second stanza it should be “and has ceased” not “have” –at least to my ear. I’ve always been amazed how well you do writing in English.

  4. There are more interesting and rewarding things to do with life than fiddle around with puzzles. I’m sure that’s the conclusion your elder has come to.

  5. There is a beautiful sense of wistful longing in this one, Bjorn 💜 love the image of “sieved his syllables from books.” ☺

  6. the triumph or the decline? to simply know when it’s best to leave things alone, or to purposefully release —

    clearly, sitting and reading this poem offers us different interpretations, from the aging and what we lose, to memories fading or taken by disease, or simply knowing we are running out of time –
    and since there are no clear directions, we are left to choose and simply sit with the intensity of the feelings here, so well chosen for your words Bjorn, and this makes this poem all the heavier but light for the reading; this is very well penned and a pleasure to read and savour 🙂

  7. I really like the contrast of laying puzzle pieces (order) to sand and missing pieces (disorder). Powerful and moving (full of motion).

  8. So many puzzles to solve and not enough time. I’m one to always want the answers. Those missing pieces can be frustrating but we can squander our time looking for them.
    I especially love “sieved his syllables” .

  9. I am not alone in my reflection of this line being a stunner, “he sieved his syllables from books.” There is a quiet yearning in your words. Lovely.

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