Saturday, December 19, 2009

Clotho at Work

In this instance, my sister-in-law’s long-departed grandmother. Photo taken in the early 70s outside the back entrance to our old house. Judging from the three or four layers of clothes she’s wearing and the fact that she’s huddled in the southwest corner taking in all the sunshine she can get, it must have been a sunny winter's day. Apart from that, this picture also reminds me of how large her hands were and how effortlessly they worked at unraveling the ball of yarn and twisting it onto the spindle until she came upon a knot and had to stop to untangle it. Utterly engrossed in what she was doing, she never realized I was three feet in front of her, never once looked up, never heard the shutter click, never even saw the picture afterwards before her fate called her away.


  1. The play of light on dark,
    even the shadows ...
    this photograph is a poem in itself!
    How wonderful that you were able to capture this moment. Immortalization in images, in words. That's comforting somehow.

  2. What a masterpiece. What hands. And, now that I have looked up “Clotho,” what added meaning!

  3. Marvelous photo and prose poem commentary.

    I assume that she could have seen the photo, before she passed away, if you had wanted to show it to her. Adds to the complexity of the writing that you did not show it to her during her lifetime, but now show it, and write about it, presumably much later, as you yourself (along with all of us) get closer to joining what we perhaps respectfully call "senior citizens."

    The first three words of the piece go wonderfully well with the title.

  4. Three comments, three Fates--a coincidence?

    I consider myself fortunate indeed to have been there at the "right" time, so to speak. As for her never seeing the photo, John, I never got the chance because she passed away during one of my visits back to the US--I should have developed this particular roll of film right away rather than leaving it for another day. Story of my life?

    Thanks to all three of you for commenting!

  5. She might have been aware of you in some way there. So satisfying, getting a knot out finally.


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