Winter Thistle

Light as down, you floated a while,
gradually fading, your smile
a mere flicker. Your papery hands
slipped through my fingers.
Your breath dropped like wind
and I, your thistle seed, caught here
in earth’s embrace, watched as winter
blasted you out of the atmosphere.

Kim M. Russell, 2018

Winter Thistle photo from Sharon Knight’s blog, Sunearthsky – Meditations from the Midwest.

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Photography by Sharon Knight, also shared on Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

This Tuesday, Mish has introduced us to the photography of Sharon Knight, who captures the subtle beauty of the Midwest with her rural scenes. Not only has Sharon kindly given us permission to borrow her images at but she has also given Mish a short interview, in which I discovered that we both love the paintings of Andrew Wyeth.

Our mission today is to choose any photo from Sharon Knight’s blog, Sunearthsky – Meditations from the Midwest, and let it take us in any direction: a descriptive poem of nature or an expression of emotion that arises from the image. We must just remember to include an image credit for her photo.

As I know very little about the American Midwest, I found the photos both enlightening and enthralling, and it was hard to choose one as inspiration for a poem. However, the Winter Thistle reminded me of my mother, who died a year ago today.

69 thoughts on “Winter Thistle

  1. Oh the sadness of your mother’s passing. Reading the poem in this context, it is heartbreakingly sad and wistful. The lines about “your papery hands”…oh how I remember my mother’s touch and her hands like delicate paper. Excellent job Kim. A year later I still offer you my condolences. We daughters do grieve so deeply.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t believe it has come around so fast. I think of her every day as she used to be before the dementia but yesterday I could only see the frail husk she was the day before she died. Thank you for your kind words, Victoria, they mean a lot to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am in the desert home my parents left to me. It was my mom’s haven and I seem to meet her at every turn and speak to her so many times a day. We used to come down together, just the two of us, in the sweltering summers. We’d stay inside reading, and I could write uninterrupted. I miss that so much. Last year was so crazy trying to settle so many thing after her death that I had no chance to grieve. I feel as though I am just beginning. I think of you and Toni often and hope the bereavement process is gentle for you. We have been partners in poetry and loss!

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      2. It’s wonderful that you have your desert haven, Victoria. I’m afraid I have only a few photographs as my sister took, sold or got rid of everything from my mother’s rented flat, But she couldn’t take my memories. Thank you for thinking of me, and for being my partner in poetry and loss.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How exquisitely beautiful this is…your mother’s papery hands……and you, the thistle seed, caught in earth’s embrace. This is just gorgeous. The first year without our mothers is a hard one. You have honoured her with this beautiful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Kim, you’ve brought tears to my eyes. This is so beautiful, so poignant. You’ve caught the sadness, but natural inevitability of death. I remembered your mother as soon as I read it. I send you love and hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so sorry for your loss, Kim. I can feel the pain in “Your breath dropped like wind and I, your thistle seed, caught here in earth’s embrace.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The violence of the final loss is heart-crushing. Nothing ever prepares us to that final ripping, regardless of how long we’ve lived knowing about it. When it comes, it leaves us gasping. Your poems says all this to me.


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