First Word

When Tom Davis recently solicited poems and vignettes related to reading, writing, or public speaking for the Webster’s Reading Room, A Poetry and Prose Anthology, he stirred this memory. At four years old, I was an aspiring writer. Many decades later, I remain fascinated by the alchemy of transforming thoughts into words. It seems Ron and Nina are, too.

Dust danced across
single diamond-shafted western sunbeam
filtered through ochre and absinthe stained glass,
its fleur-de-lis daunted by decades
dignifying mid-century
first-floor flat life.
Sprawled beneath,
on nearly threadbare davenport puce,
pigtails pinched neath buster brown bang,
squinty eyes, skewered lips, crumpled nose,
chubby fingers fisting chubbier pencil,
she huffed, puffed, scuffed magic
Of scrawled bars,
curls, dots, dashes—random flukes—
guiding archetypal fantasies,
kneading scraps of freckled worth
to timeless, nameless worlds
beyond setting suns.
In quietude,
no child—not one of six—resounded.
Alone at home was she, a mere four years?
Or so rapt was the chronicle of
whispered chatters, stylus to skin
that she heard but no one, save her muse?
Ribbons plaiting her wake
in flight, she swooped
breathless, waving scrawls midair,
bestowed upon aproned augur,
a gift—my first—of woken ardor.
“Mom,” I prayed the alchemy alive, “Is this a word?”

—Patti M. Walsh  


Published by Patti M. Walsh

A storyteller since her first fib, Patti M. Walsh is an award-winning author who writes short stories, novels, and memoirs. Her first novel, GHOST GIRL, is a middle-grade coming-of-age ghost story based on Celtic mythology. In addition to extensive experience teaching and counseling, Patti is a Hermes award-winning business and technical writer. Visit

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