by Theodora Goss

Sometimes I would like to be very small
so I could curl into a snail’s shell
or a seashell: abalone, nautilus,
even an oyster shell.  I would let the oyster
cover me with layer on layer of nacre,
come out shining.

Sometimes I would like to be very small
so I could hide myself inside a flower,
between the petals of a tulip or crocus,
inside purple or crimson walls, like a genie
in her bottle.  I would emerge covered
with pollen, riding a bee.

Sometimes I would like to be small enough
to live in the hollow of a tree, like a bird
or squirrel.  I would dress in leaves, eat acorns,
make a coat of felted fur.  I would live alone,
hiding, hiding, always hiding,
because the world is full of large things
that are too large, too loud.
Over them, I can’t hear the sea
whispering, the beat of a sparrow’s wings,
the annoyed chuff of a robin.

I would like to be small enough
to hear the dawn breaking, the tulip opening,
the sand as it shifts under each tide,
the long dream of rocks.


(The image is Cock Robin and Flower Fairy by Kathleen Wallis Coales.)

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4 Responses to Thumbelina

  1. Forrice says:

    Your poems a very calming.

  2. sarah says:

    Beautiful. I personally don’t find it calming, but perhaps it just speaks to me differently from Forrice. I find it a little sad, and quite fierce, holding on to hope even in moments of retreat, and full of longing for a deep connection with the world … there is peace in the reminder that there are different layers of worlds and languages and connections and consciousness, and yet a lingering sadness that it’s hard these days to connect with it. But maybe I am reading to much into it. 🙂

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