We were blood n’ bone archives,

supervised by florescence,

engraving names, dates, chronicles

& shrines into silver & gold.


No robotics, then, just hefty trays

filled with timeworn fonts,

letters locked in temporary confinement,

then whipped by the pantograph —

ruthless, each diamond-tipped quill.


Vices were clamped,

knobs repositioned,  readjusted, again

& again, but ratios are preordained.

War epics outrank dog tags, will not fit,

& heart-lockets are deceptive, hold so little.

Always our obsession with pressure,

adequate depth, precision,


burdened with the knowledge even steel

dents, eventually folds.

Nothing is impenetrable or eternal,

but the hopeful kept signing-over their own:

watches & wedding cups, rings & rattles,

trophies & beloved milestones.


They left deep marks

upon us, too,  every fleeting pang.

Gravers work miracles, keep alive

what was already  lost;

vowing to immortalize

your fading vignettes

upon the slip of long-hardened metal.



By Cyndi MacMillan, 2016


One thought on “Poetry

  1. I am looking into my genealogy, and this poem really resonated with me. So much is lost. So much has managed to survive in spite of poor record keeping, war, poverty, etc. I salute you for writing about it so well. I am a budding poet, starting at about the age of about 57. My mom and aunt had done a lot of the record searching long before computer and internet help. I salute you and honor you! I am just getting to know your works. So far, wonderful! Keep writing, you are so good! 😉


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