The Splinter

by Robert Heard (September 2023)

Ascent III, Ferdinand Hodler, 1894


The sinews of my knees unstrung—
Too far up, afraid to look—
So tight I held the edge, and clung,
That in my hands it cracked and broke.

Then someone higher I descry
Tossing in his frantic search,
When something fell, that missed my eye—
I heard a cry, and gave a lurch:

A splinter passed me from above,
And fell still further down below—
From here to there, too fast to know
What it might be the token of:

Dropped by accident, or thrown
For reasons none would after own,
No one seeing the end or length;
No one knowing his own strength.


Table of Contents


Robert Heard was born and educated in Toronto, Canada, and is retired from work in the city’s library system. His avocations are poetry, and illustration.

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