Tuesday Poem: Minding Isabella

She isn't sure of me, this occasional person
she calls Abuela, whose DNA she shares
across two generations and two languages.
I don't always understand her.  'Agua' she says
holding out a cup.  'Donde esta mi madre?' 
The lip quivers, and her face tilts up, reflecting
mine. A small hand slips between arthritic fingers
unable to unlatch the harness of the car seat
that she mustn't wriggle out of.  Precious cargo, 
Isabella; daughter's daughter.  Mine for today.

Copyright Kathleen Jones

This is unashamedly sentimental.  I've just been back to England for a few days to look after my small grand-daughter  - a lovely, and exhausting, experience.  She's just beginning to talk and often difficult to interpret. My daughter is trying to bring her up to be bi-lingual, so some things she says are in Spanish, others in English.  'Abuela' is Spanish for grandmother, and I love it.   The biggest challenge, since I have the writers' curse, RSI, in my wrists, was locking and unlocking all the child-proof things - buggies and car seats etc.  A nightmare!

I'm also experimenting a bit with forms.  This one's ten lines, each line 12 syllables (approx), which is an interesting short form to work with. There are two lines that don't quite work yet, so more editing necessary!

For more Tuesday Poems please visit the main site:  www.tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com


  1. Absolutely my kind of poetry, Kathleen. Beautiful. Thank you, reminded me once again why I love the written word.

  2. What tender words, Kathleen. The working through of communication and connection, of possession is beautiful. Enjoyed the new form, too!

  3. I love the quivering watery reflective quality of the little girl wanting her agua. The poem hinges nicely on 'lip quivers'. Lovely, Kathleen.

  4. We need a new word for sentimental, I think. This piece is full of direct feeling - very concrete in its way but full of the unspoken universals of DNA. I remember the other poem about the laying out of the mother....
    And how wonderful for her to by bi-lingual. One language is never enough. wx
    ps I was interested in the form of this.

  5. I love the face titlting and the lip quivering such a tender image. I don't find this sentimental but touching and truthful. Amazing what can be rendered in such a short form - down to your skill I think.

  6. Hi Kathleen,
    I love this poem...and I loved the one the other day about the raven. I read the one about the raven 7 times that day, before I had to ban myself from reading it an 8th time, then I closed the page, and now I can't find the page where the raven poem is, so I am also mentioning it here. The raven picture also went very well with the raven poem. (Tap on the window goes the beak..."Nevermore"..."Nevermore"...I got started on a period of reading raven poems that day, by your poem.)
    All best, John

  7. I think we shouldn't always shy away from sentimentality especially when it is layered with love as this poem is. I can really picture your grand-daughter so well from these few lines.

    The 21st century can be pretty hard-edged and cynical so it needs occasional leavening with sentiment especially heartfelt sentiment.

    I'm sorry to hear you are cursed with RSI.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts