20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers

Certain Things


A shell, a piece of bone, a tumbleweed,
some driftwood, Indian beads, a little stone…
these things hold memories, and how I need

them. Grandchildren learned names of shells with speed
from my collection. Don’t forget pinecone
to add to shell and bone and tumbleweed.

My mother cooked Thanksgiving once to feed
us in the pinewoods. Warm that year, sun shone.
These things hold memories. O, how I need

remembrance of the driftwood she would plead
with us to bring up from the beach. Windblown,
a shell, a piece of bone, a tumbleweed

arrived onshore. And then we would impede
their further travels, as our mom was prone
to loving things of nature. They, her need,

defined her as might the Apostles’ Creed.
Each lovely signature stood all alone
in her home, shell and bone and tumbleweed.
I understand the memories I need.

(a villanelle)

Author: Maggie

I am a retired language arts teacher from the Midwest who has published a book of poems. I write poetry in the classic forms. My reading interests are non-fiction, especially in the areas of medicine and spirituality. I am a pianist, and also enjoy word puzzles and games.

2 thoughts on “Certain Things

  1. So lovely, Maggie. I, too am a lover and collector of the natural world. Everything from bird nests to seashells. So much beauty to share and learn from with those special people in our lives. I displayed all of these treasures in my classroom when I was teaching LA & Soc.St. (4th/5th loop). Now they’re at home, where I can share with family and friends. Again, lovely poem! Bette

    • Thank you, Bette. My goodness do we have a lot in common. I also taught 4th and 5th LA and Social Studies. I loved teaching but I also love retirement. My students were always bringing wonderful things into the classroom, and I displayed them as well. I love that you have birds’ nests. That’s cool.


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