Frames of Dust

Feelings are like precious metals mingled and trapped in rocks. They’re not always valuable in their raw form. They must be processed and refined to become something beautiful.

Writing poems has provided many writers a way to process and refine emotions. My own poems reflect all sorts of states: worship, whimsy, rage, rapture…poems are passion pendulums swinging all over the place.

Grief has provided me with poetic ore many times in my life. Below is a poem I wrote after my grandmother died. It appeared in my first book, The Wind and the Shadows.

My grandmother was an accomplished painter so painting was a theme in more than one of the poems I wrote after she died. I’m thankful to have some of her paintings so that, from time to time, I can pause to remember what a gift she was.

Frames of Dust

An autumn wood,
a billy goat,
a Japanese woman,
a scroungy old cat,
a piece of driftwood on the beach…

Still lives,
painted by grandma

now laid on the couch,
now leaning against the piano,
now in piles
with all the other things
we are sorting through,
trying to decide what to keep
and what to discard.

And how do you make such a choice?

How do you mark off borders
for a whole life?
What stays in the field of view,
and what is excluded?
It depends on your perspective.

My interest is in the paintings.
I hoped to have a few, and, surprisingly,
no one wants 
the ones I like.

The next morning,
we pack our treasures into cars
and prepare to leave.

Life goes on.

Before leaving,
I take one more look
to make sure
we left nothing
My eyes trace 
phantoms of knick-knacks,
depressions in the carpet,
and the walls,
where the dust that accumulated
on the edges of each painting
now frames
empty spaces.

Published by mrteague

Teague McKamey lives in Washington state with his wife and two children. Teague’s poetry has appeared in several journals and in self-published books. He blogs at and In all areas of life, Teague desires that Christ may be magnified in his body (Php. 1:20).

2 thoughts on “Frames of Dust

  1. I liked this one, about grandma. I was going through old files of my own, dumping some things, saving others. We do mark our lives by memories. some are of broken relationships and the pain. The Lord can use the good nd the bad for growth. For our inner man all the memories and our processing is for life.

    By the way, m y daughter Rebekah has an MFA in creating writing poetry from Sarah Lawrence. My writing is my bl;g and my book but no poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mark. It is wonderful how the Lord makes everything work together for growth in Christ 😊 That’s awesome daughter’s degree is in poetry! Does she post poems anywhere? I’m always interested in reading poetry as well as writing 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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