It wasn't a difficult mystery to solve; "Where did you get your long legs?" she had asked.

His grandfather on one side was a good height, the other Scandinavian in origin, was the tallest, so he imagined. His own father was just a fraction short of six feet, a height he noticeably outgrew. The women in the family tree were relatively diminutive.

The Scandinavian grandfather had not ever been met: not by him, not by his  father, nor by his mother, except during the first three years of her life. This grandfather had been a professional soldier, not a conscript. There is a monochrome picture of him beside his happy toddler daughter, who was stretching up as far as she might so she could hold her daddy's right hand for the photograph. He was in his uniform that day. After he set off that morning from the Fens, he wasn't seen in the village again.

Those tall strong limbs, the athletic build and the cheery smile his pretty daughter inherited, were returned from Dunkirk soon after, to be laid out in the local town hospital; his long legs leaving his feet cramped by the iron bed frame. Pneumonia came for him and he slipped quietly away.

"I think they come from my maternal grandfather. His family came from Malmo." he replied. "I thought you looked a bit Swedish!" she said with a sparkle. Their friendship fun, but brief.


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day 1 prompt: a prose poem with some dialogue about a body.

CLP 1st April 2022


  1. Not sure if crisp is the word I’d use – but that sharp contrast in your poem to me is better than crisp.

    Great to read you again!

    1. Angela, If you whisper a bit louder from Utrecht I might catch your voice on the easterly wind coming across the North Sea. Hope all well!

      1. Whispering like the howling wind then!

      2. It’s only 268 km across the sea. As close to Norwich as Stratford-upon-Avon.

  2. Love this one my friend. You have a talent for the short and the longer form πŸ‘πŸ–€

    1. You are very kind YLC 🌹

      1. Perhaps, but I’m also just honest πŸ˜πŸ–€

  3. I like the conversation you built into this and the origin story.

    1. Thank you Namratha. I am glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Nice to read your stuff again, Chris. I enjoyed this eavesdropping and the cameo of a small tragedy.

    1. Hello Jane, I have dipped into some of writing over the year. Hope France is treating you well!

      1. France is okay, but the world isn’t. It’s hard to keep cheery and honest.

      2. Hold onto that honesty…cheery has to be an act sometimes…sadly

      3. We have so many masks these days, so many things we’re not supposed to say in case someone is offended. I wish I dared be more honest, but I have too thin a skin.

      4. See the recent Cass Report, for example, or how any discussion around the damage caused by Brexit with anyone who doesn’t understand the multiplicity and variety of our trade links with Europe. It is wearing, admittedly.

      5. For every cranky opinion there’s some snippet of ‘evidence’ on the social media if you look, and for some reason, people seem more willing to believe crackpot theories than common or scientific sense. Maybe lemmings have the same failing.

      6. When traveling in packs it is probably hard to see beyond the tail in front, so no likelihood of avoiding the cliff edge.

      7. That could explain it…

  5. This idea that offence has been deliberate, or an indicator of blithe ignorance is often used in discussion of complex matters to block debate, or to answer questions of those holding firm positions despite those positions being primarily beliefs, not well-evidenced theories.

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