Poetry Break: Letter to My Brand New Granddaughter

By: Claudia Ricci, Ph.D.




Dear Dani Marcella,

you are only

two days

old and yet

the wheel

of time has

come loose

in your grandmother’s

spinning mind

and suddenly

everything has

kind of come

unhinged, and

fast and past

have moved forward

and stopped.

Dani in my head

I see you

as the sweet

little human

pearl of flesh you are,

but also, quite suddenly,

I am seeing you as a great


yourself, you

even older than me,

you becoming

someone akin

to my dad

who is 93, a great grandfather

living out the twilight of life.

Such a darling little

divine face you

have today, you are a miracle and a

heavenly blessing and a gem

and honestly

words don’t begin

to capture the

magical mystery

that has brought your


I sit here on an

August day

in 2019.

The sun drifts

in and out


the clouds.

The air after

the rain is

cool and clean

and breezy.

And I pray

that this poetry may

help me to find

the courage to do

what I need to

do for my dear

father, who is not

having an easy time

of living or dying these days,

it’s so sad and heartbreaking.

He says over and over

that he would like to

die. But I would

rather think

of him living

if only just to meet you.

I would rather

eradicate death

from this moment

from this poem

and do what TS Eliot

did in his famous

poem “The Four Quartets,”

that is, find the “still point” of time:

Time past and time future

Allow but a little consciousness.

To be conscious is not to be in time

But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,

The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,

The moment in the draughty church at smokefall

Be remembered; involved with past and future.

Only through time time is conquered.


I am

thinking of

you meeting

Dad when time is conquered,

when both of

you are 93, both of you are great


There is something

comforting in

thinking about

that meeting.

It takes life

and death

and tumbles

them together

so that they

come out calm.

It takes the sting

out of thinking

about my father’s death.

Instead, you two

would be sitting

on a wooden bench

in a late summer

garden, the bee balm

past but the roses and

bleeding heart and lilies

and black eyed Susans

still in bloom.

“Hello Ric,” you would say

as you put your cane aside

and sat down beside him.

And he would smile and

reach for your

delicately veined hand

and he would say,

“My darling Dani, did

you know that you

were named for

my beloved

wife, DINA?

Next month, on

September 17, 2019,

we would have been

married seventy, yes, 70

years. Oh that

used to seem

like so much time,

such a long long

ago but now that

I’m 93 and you are too

it isn’t much

time at all.”

And he would set one

hand gently on your head

and recall all the cascading

black shiny rolls of hair

that Dina had on her wedding day.

And Dani, reaching

into a satin handbag,

would say,

“Ric, do you remember

the poet TS Eliot?

That man would understand

the two of us meeting

like this today, so perhaps

I can just read you a little from his

Poem, “Burnt Norton?”

Ric would smile and lean close in

and agree to listen and be able to hear.

“Here is how it begins, she’d say:

Time present and time past

Are both perhaps present in time future

And time future contained in time past.

If all time is eternally present

All time is unredeemable.

What might have been is an abstraction

Remaining a perpetual possibility

Only in a world of speculation.

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose-garden. My words echo

Thus, in your mind.

But to what purpose

Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves

I do not know.

Other echoes

Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?”

Then Dani would smile, and move

a stray gray hair from her forehead

and Ric would reach for her hand,

just the way my sister Karen has

been doing of late every time she

visits my father.

And in those hands grasping,

the generations would

connect and collapse into

one time one place one

space of Infinite LOVE.

Indeed time would be

conquered as we all

sat in the present moment

enjoying the garden wondering

but not worrying where time went without us.


Bio: Claudia Ricci, Ph.D

claudia ricci Ph.D. Monthly Contributor at Two Drops of Ink Marilyn l davisClaudia Ricci, Ph.D., was a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and a prize-winning reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, where one of her projects was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Her novels include:

Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines nationwide.

Ricci spent 15 years teaching English and journalism at the University at Albany and was a visiting professor for one year at Georgetown University.

To order her novels, visit her website at www.claudiajricci.com

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  1. This is beautiful. Congratulations and condolences often stand side by side. The circle continues on…unabated. Glad you have a baby to ease the pain of slowly losing your dad. A mixed blessing.

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