Elaine Jarvest Miller

How important it was

When I offer you the jigsaws in their faded boxes,
I won’t tell you when I bought them,
or what they taught me.

How important it was then
to find the straight edges and build a frame,
to bring order out of chaos.

How many people sat alone,
absorbed in joining small cardboard shapes together
until they made a picture.

I’ll let you discover for yourself, as I did,
that you mustn’t force two pieces
if they don’t fit sweetly,
that when you get stuck today,
tomorrow things will fall into place.

There were times when I thought
a piece must belong to a different puzzle,
but in the end, it always fitted in.
I learnt that if it makes no sense one way,
it helps to turn it upside down.

I learnt the pleasure of small victories,
And that patience really is a virtue.

I’m hoping though,
that when I offer you the jigsaws,
you’ll consider them, then shake your head.
Because by then – surely this will be true –
there will be so many other things
that you can do.

Elaine has been part of the Devon poetry scene since 2011. Her pamphlet The Angel in my Underwear was published by Acumen in 2013, and her poems have appeared in The Broadsheet, Molly Bloom, Acumen magazine, and the Play anthology. Her poetry usually centres on the human and personal: love, relationships, mythology and fairytale, with a smattering of science.  Originally from Surrey, she read History at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and works at Exeter University library.