Tuesday, March 2

A scale trued by memory ...

The photo prompt for this week's Magpie Tales is the beautiful 1 kg clunker shown here.

Never alone
never alone,
the dark iron weight bobbed up
and down on the bronze plate
in the company of river fairies,
arrowheads and lunar sails

no, señor kilo never danced alone
as he proclaimed his dense message,
the only thing we need to know about him:
I weigh exactly one kilogram

Abril would always surround him
with small river washed stones
she gathered every Sunday morning
after mass in the shady bend
of the stream behind the village church,
La Pedrera,
that sat in pious silence at the edge
of the meadow

the other pan brimmed with potatoes
and onions I would carry back home
happy to heed the daily commandment
“go see Abril and bring me one kilo of each”

with steady hands that always
smelled of moss from river rocks
Abril would hold up the scale
dangling from a jangling chain
and load my end
with the earth blessed offering
for that night’s tortilla
while señor kilo concentrated
on holding up and down
his end of the see-saw bargain

and then,
so I would know the deal was fair
that what’s right was right
and lighter than right
she would add a couple of river polished stones
to señor kilo

she may not be able to read or write,
she might be named for the
month of her birth and not for a saint
because her parents were not wed,
never were and never would be,
but the deal was oh so fair

as señor kilo and his sleek pebbles
locked anew into still balance
with my next meal
her eyes would lock on mine
and hold me gently in
her streaming mists

in a trembling voice that cooed
like a warm throated bird
warbling smooth water stories
gurgling her river song
she would tell me
one stone was the earring
dropped by a Xana nymph fairy
while she danced on the river
in the coming of spring

this one is a sail
made of June moon
that floated down to the church
to celebrate my communion

another was an arrowhead
flung by an ancient warrior
in September’s waning sun

and here is the eye of a star that
fell to earth when her constellation
was shaken by a winter wind

I remember meadow frozen drops of dew
I remember petrified tears

señor kilo now sits alone on the edge of my desk
holding down telephone bills and unopened envelopes
in awkward perfect balance with the computer
that loads down the other end

I now buy potatoes and onions from I know not where
I pick them out myself, wearing plastic gloves,
and weigh them on
perfectly calibrated digital scales

but when life
seems to tip off-kilter
I see señor kilo
under lightly prancing Xanas
dancing their naked ear lobes
under showers of arrows
shot by blind stars

and then my scales will
lock into perfect balance
though they teeter
on an ever sharpening

Photo of me, 3 years old, near my grandmother’s farm in Asturias, Spain, presumably looking for Xanas and arrowheads.

Do stay a while, take my hand and stroll with me, and then go see what other Magpie Tales participants have put on their scales by clicking here.

One year later (Feb 18, 2011), I am linking this post-poem to One Stop Poetry, where Peter Marshall has asked us to dig up old poems from or about our childhood or youth. To see Peter's own poem and what other participants at One Stop Poetry site have done for A Saturday Celeberation: Your Past, click here.


  1. wonderful childhood memories...and great that you included you picture as well. may your scales find balance today.

  2. Thanks, Brian. You always send out such kind wishes on your blog and in your comments.

  3. That poem is great, really drew me in line by lovely line... could not look away till I got to the end

  4. such beautiful language ~ and the images you create are so rich ~ what a time you must have had on that farm! looking forward to hearing more.

  5. Beautiful memories, LLL. See-saws, balances, fairness, lovely meals, scales...all so very Libra. I love how you incorporated Senior Kilo into the autobiographical tale!

  6. Gravity brings respect and sometimes love. Stunning poem.

  7. Wonderful imagery! Senor Kilo holding up and down his end of the see saw bargain! Great!

  8. All that from stones? Estupendo!

  9. a beautiful story filled with warm, vivid scenes. it was a nice touch to add the picture.

  10. Beautiful memory, beautiful photo.

  11. Your poem is like the 'xana' fairy nymph you capture the extraordinary beauty of childhood, replete with golden memories -- a beautiful comparison of simple good cooking from loving hands of past to the now- "potatoes and onions from I know not where"
    A life lived in balance --


  12. Your writing is exquisite. How beautiful this piece is.

    A few lines that struck me:

    her eyes would lock on mine
    and hold me gently in
    her streaming mists

  13. You took me to another world today, Lorenzo. Thank you.

  14. Lovely slice of life, or perhaps I should say lives.

  15. that is beautiful, Lorenzo. Enchanting and grating, a real treat.

  16. This was so beautifully unravelled, Lorenzo! First of all, before I forget, I have to say that photo of you is so sweet. I was captivated by your words and memories--I had come here last night to read this and then decided--no--I'll wait until I can savor it more--so I hurried back today. I find myself wanting to print it out to read again, but I'll just come back here! Just entrancing.

  17. thank-you Lorenzo! A stunning and visually ephemeral poem; like a yesteryear postcard! These memory snapshots reminds me of the time the highways used to have weigh scales everywhere. We do not measure as much any more. The weights and measures were trying to make life fair to all. Today? Maybe not so fair!

  18. "A sail made of June moon that floated down to church"
    Could well describe the poem itself. Ethereal.

  19. what a beautiful life and moments in time-I enjoyed the ride and did not want it to end-great post!

  20. That's mad Lorenzo. So vivid and surreal in places. I'll need to read it a few times to digest it fully. It surprised me.

  21. A wonderfully conveyed story - and the stories within the story:

    "...and here is the eye of a star that
    fell to earth when her constellation
    was shaken by a winter wind..."

    Like you finding balance and peace at the end of it, I felt so in reading it (and re-reading it). It's a real inspiring take on the prompt!

  22. A great story and memories... I love the picture and love coming here :0)

  23. I enjoyed that journey, your imagery.

    Thanks for sharing yourself.


  24. A few people shape our lives. You were fortunate in Abril.

    I like what the stones are, they feel eternal here, as they should be. I see an earlobe the size of a small pebble, as well as the earring.

    Great photo of you.

  25. This explodes in my psyche with its referential power, how you gather in the totems--in Spanish--Spain, from the past and how they through off so much emotional light. wondrous. j

  26. this epitomises what today is about,...this is a wonderful poetry..so beautifully written and yet it sits hidden in the past...today gives such work a chance to be revisited...thanks for sharing this gem..pete

  27. lorenzo-- hope you don't mind that i borrowed two lines from this poem for an epigraph-- mille gracias-- check it out, amor. xxj


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