There is a romance,
a nostalgic sadness
by the notion of string.
And by string,
I mean the real stuff,
not what we have been subjected to
these days
in its universal plasticisation.
The string I picture,
with it’s off-white twill,
is part of a package,
which if perfectly imagined,
would have to have a brown
paper wrapping,
and in the turning
over of a finger
would ripple along
the edge of a fingerprint,
nicely, tightly
back to paper
when plucked like a
As time has worn on
the idea of string
has elided into a representation
of the disappearance of the past,
it conjures horse-transport,
glass cats-eye marbles
and long-gone relatives.
And when,
as a birthday gift from my son,
I received a ball of string
given half-jokingly,
there was a half-understood
he was making me
a present of
the intangible past.


21 thoughts on “String

  1. Oh yes. As a person who spends hours every week sitting at a spinning wheel (merely for pleasure, mind you), I get the power of string. Real string. String made by hands. String made from natural fibers. This is a beautiful, poignant poem for me.

  2. we dont really use string much do we…i like the plucking of it…reminds me of my string times as well…it is interesting the things we leave behind and the power they still have over us as well…

  3. This is stunning! So many trains of thought collide. You reference memory, the state of the world, the state of ourselves, so many things represented, wrapped up in a nice little package tied with REAL string. A favorite for me!

  4. Ah, this is not only clever…it’s meaningful…the strings that bond us, attach us to the past…the histories behind, attached to the string. Deft job here, Brian…proving that anything at all makes for poetry. Love it!

  5. “…he was making me
    a present of
    the intangible past.”

    What a lovely capture! Evoked so many memories, not to do with packages, but “presents” all the same. When I was really small I used to go to my paternal grandparents’ house, and my babcia would tie a length of string through the end of a box, put her door-stop doll in it, and I would pull it like a wagon, through the loop that made her house (kitchen, living room, hallway, dining room, kitchen…) String and twine mostly fallen by the wayside, but not so the memories.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Love this, Brian. The string as a notion of the past. I could feel the excitement I felt as a child of wrapping a parcel in brown paper and then tying the cotton string, carrying it by the knot to the post office. It would be sent off to my Grandmother. Or, plucking the string, if I was lucky enough to receive a parcel : -) The past being ‘tangible’ if one has a bit of string, or the memories to pluck.

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