Ladies In Waiting

Waiting on Words

Hourglass Moments


For Magpie Tales: Mag 32


Hourglass Moments

Tiny grains of sand falling through
narrowed aperture, moments in a life
constantly moving. Where do they find
that sand to represent time? Does it
come from some exotic place, space
that no one knows of? Or is it
manufactured for just that single
purpose? Who chooses the precise
dimensions of each grain to be strained
through that small opening?

Would prefer snowflakes, each one
distinctly different, no two alike.
This one full and fluffy to designate
joy of breathing in sunrise, or hard
packed with ice sharp enough to slice
skin on impact. That one heavy, moist
with sorrow that can be tasted on
extended tongue, laced with bitter
sweet intricacies of goodbye come
unexpectedly, or delicacy in hushed
moment of awed stillness.

Flakes in varied shapes and sizes, some
that lazily float forever or others driven
down by hand of fate indifferent at any
outcome. Yet, all would slowly melt,
mingle like tears shared in fun or sorrow,
blending, running all together like a life
well spent and fondly remembered. Poured
out on dry cracked soil, to nurture whatever
might come after.

Elizabeth Crawford  9/16/10


  1. This is just wonderful! Both in its concept and the beauty of your writing. I loved it. 🙂

    • Hi Susannah. I really had no idea where this was going. I just started writing, describing what I was looking at, and suddenly realized I wanted it to be something different, something with the built in ability to be transformed into other substance. Thanks for the comments,


  2. very beautifully crafted piece!!

    • Priyanka, thank you for finding beauty in my words. That is always a welcome thing to hear,


  3. Wonderful word manipulation here. Great write indeed. Love and Light, Sender

    • Thanks Sender, I had a bit of fun with this one. Once I knew what I wanted and the metaphor slid into place, I enjoyed exploring it. But then, most writing is that way, don’t you think?


  4. Oh so beautiful! I like the way you think, but I think if you looked through a magnifying glass, each grain of sand would be different, just like each snowflake is different, like everything in the world is different. Each thing is it’s own. Just because it is small, doesn’t make it the same. Just a thought.

    I don’t meant to be critical, as you may be right….at least your words are perfect, and wonderful….made me wonder…..Thank you so much for your beautiful writing, and your beautiful thoughts! I love it.

    • Annell, I don’t mind at all. I think it was that end result of transformation to another form that I was looking for, more than anything. And although I know that granules of sand mixed with other things, make stone, I wanted the fluidity of snowflakes that melt into water, the life giving force, and its promise of nurture and change to mark my own existence. The actual thought had not occurred to me before this writing. That’s what I love about poetry, its ability to be fluid and life-giving. Grains of sand have their own matrix, I’m sure, but not as visible to the human eye or mind.


  5. Helen

    What a concept, an hourglass filled with snowflakes. Falling forever, over and over, melting and reappearing, never ending.

    I enjoyed this.

    • Thank you Helen, and I agree. Not a practical time teller, but a lot more interesting to watch and relate to. And also very dreamy as well. I like that.


  6. a wonderful twist on the hourglass….I can visualize the snow flakes drifing down through
    the passage of time. Lovely magpie

    • Thank you Kathe, I love where poetry often takes me and allows me to go. And I have always had some questions about those hourglasses anyway, lol.


  7. So exquisite and so beautiful. I liked the way it flowed.

    timeless flies search for fries

    • Thank you Gautami, I really like exquisite, lol. It came easily, once I found what I really wanted.


  8. Moment of awed stillness.

    I remember standing in the snow – marvelling at such a moment…thanks Elizabeth for the memory

    • Living in Wisconsin, I’ve had many of those moments, at least once a year, if not more. And they still fill me with awe. The silence, the freshness of a completely altered landscape, the sense of newness upon the earth. Thank you, Ninotaziz,


  9. Wow, this is a poem with terrific depth. I love the varied images of snowflakes of different designs and qualities. Wonderful take on the prompt…..”that one heavy, moist with sorrow…..laced with bitter sweet intricacies of goodbye come unexpectedly.” Rich, deep, evocative, and with a lot to provoke thought and reflection. Wonderful!

    • Thank you Sherry, I was surprised when it sort of just fell out and made it easy for me to follow. Love it when that happens,


  10. well said.. nice poem, in both words and flow.. creativity at its finest! 🙂

    My Mag

    • Leo, thank you for the compliments, they will all go in my kudo box, now if I could just stop blushing,


  11. Yet, all would slowly melt,
    mingle like tears shared in fun or sorrow,
    blending, running all together like a life
    well spent and fondly remembered.

    And tears are much more productive than grains of sand which live in a vacuum…

    • Precisely Jinksy, what you just said. I understand the sand in the hourglass and its purpose, but have often wondered at its relationship to moments in a living breathing life. Poetry frees us and those wondering thoughts and questions in so many ways.


      • I think it’s the imagination, freed by choice, which allows us to capture the magical aspects of poetic expression.

        Jinksy, and of course you are correct. And perhaps that is why the choice seems all so difficult at times. Each poem is a choice, as is each word expressed. All of it surrounded by the magic and alchemy within any given moment. Thanks for coming back,


  12. I see you longing for the measure of time to be the experience of time. That’s a pretty esoteric idea… a lot more clever than just ‘shooting the messenger’! 🙂

    • Stafford, when I was about twelve or thirteen, my father took me up north and behind the cabin, handed me a shotgun and told me to try it. A dare is a dare. I tried it, not at all prepared for the kickback. Landed flat on my ass, but never touched another gun in my life. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t stick out my foot to trip that messenger, it just means I’d never shoot him, lol. Thanks for the memory, I had a black and blue mark for over a week, on my arm, not my ass.


  13. Beautifully written.

    • Berowne, thank you for that one. It goes in the kudo box. Wonderful words to a poet’s ears.


  14. Outstanding poem! Your words and imagery are superb. Amazing to think of snowflakes instead of sand grains…

    • Tumblewords, thank you for the outstanding, that too shall go into the kudo box. Superb? It might still need a bit of tweaking here and there. My mentor would say that leap of imagination is what he calls whimsy. Necessary at times, lol.


  15. Beautiful, like a snow globe,
    which I would instinctively shake up
    and then I’d never know what time it was 🙂


    • Rene, I was thinking something very similar by the time I was finished, but I don’t pay much attention to the clock except when I have a specific place to be and a definite time to be there, lol. thanks for dropping by and commenting,


  16. I love the notion of the flakes nurturing new life. Beautiful Mapgie!

    • Willow, so do I. The prevailing notion is that the task of old age is give back and to nurture the life that still surrounds you, so it seemed like the perfect conclusion. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment,


  17. A very unusual and direct take on the prompt. I like it very much.

    • Thank you Friko, I think unusual is a good thing now and then, and there are many who wish I wouldn’t be so direct, lol. That’s their problem, I believe. Thanks for stopping and commenting,


  18. I liked this a lot. I could taste and feel your words, they are so descriptive. That’s a good question. Where do they get the sand? Sounds like another whole story on its own.

    • David, thank you for your kind words. And ever since I wrote it, I keep asking myself the same thing, lol. And if you write the story, I hope you come back and let me know, okay?


  19. How do they choose the sand? I often wondered how they got the exact amount. I like the idea of the sand being snowflakes no two alike. Very nice Magpie!

    • Well, I used to imagine people arriving early or late for social engagements and saying, “My hourglass must have been stuffed on third shift.” or something just as innane. It does sort of take one off on flights of fancy but then that’s exactly what imaginations are all about. Aren’t we lucky, that way? Thanks for the comments,


  20. systematicweasel

    Wonderful take on the prompt! Very much enjoyed the read! =)


    • Glad that you did, Weasel. I’ve certainly been enjoying what you’ve been posting lately. Keep it up.


  21. this was a delightful read…prefering snow flakes…metling…to be spilled out…i live that as it carries for me the meaning of life…nice mag!

    • Hi Brian,

      read your eulogy and it stopped me cold. I think that was apparent by my response. I enjoyed this prompt and where it took me. Definitely a flight of fancy, but one that makes a bit of sense on a different level. I love that when it happens. Thanks for your kind words,


  22. Love the snowflakes, the representations…

    Great magpie.

    • Thank you Reflections. It certainly wasn’t where I was headed to begin with, but that is one of my fascinations with poetry. Once I saw the first representation, the rest sort of fell out naturally. Love it when that happens,


  23. So beautifully original, it is the aria in life’s opera.

    • OOps, perhaps you should know that I think one must grow up with classical music to fully appreciate it. I grew up on Lawrence Welk, truck driver songs, and juke boxes. Although we might not agree fully on what this poem might be, I gotta tell you I love the way you said that. Kudo box, here I come. Thank you most sincerely,


  24. Great final line, “Poured out on dry cracked soil, to nurture whatever might come after.” This is how I want to be remembered.

    • Stephanie, thank you very much for your kind words. I’ve had several thoughts of a similar nature since writing it.


  25. Elizabeth this is truly beautiful…just love the thoughts here…:-)

    • Carrie, thank you so much for commenting. It is rewarding to get the positive feedback offered on the prompt responses. For a rather hurried response, this poem seems to have left a mark of its own.


  26. I LOVE this.

    I’d prefer snowflakes too – as you so beautifully point out, they more represent the mosaic of a life lived.

    • Thank you Jennifer. Water, in any form, has long been a symbol of life. I wasn’t actually thinking about that aspect when I chose the snowflakes, more the individuality of each formed entity. But, as will happen, my subconscious had already connected the dots and was waiting for me to catch up, lol. I’m glad I eventually did.


  27. ~T~

    Our time really is not so constant and uniform as sand. Snowflakes are a perfect symbol. Lovely!

    • Hi ~T~, I also think that granules of sand do not express how some moments stretch out, while others compact, nor that each moment is terribly individual and contains its own essence and presence. Granted, many seem constant and regular, sometimes mundane, and even a bit pointless, but if we choose to see them as the only “real” time we actually have, that awareness changes all of them. And often changes our perception of our time as well. Thanks for stopping and for commenting,


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