Poetry: "Grandmother's Departure" & "Gurfa"

grandmother’s departure

voices skim her ears

sooth her mind beyond lost meanings

and gentle fingers press unpressured love

onto her translucent skin

her days of tending, baking, mending, making

birthing, nursing, shrouding, binding

met so many needs

touched so many lives

she is loved

will be remembered

by kith, kin and strangers

who cradle her with gratitude

as River Styx flows to claim her

and Charon takes her in his arms

as voices skim her ears beyond lost meanings

she sails over

lives on as long

as memories endure


River Styx – in Greek myth, the river between the living and the underworld

Charon – also known as The Ferryman, rows the dead over the River Styx

Hearing: It is believed that hearing is the last sense to go when someone dies


What is this gurfa?

A softened Gurkha,

or barfi sweets from India

or maybe Mandalay?

Perhaps a child’s attempts

to name their Grandfa -

Gurfa, the nearest sound she can make.

Will the Gur go fa away,

will the sound stay or stray …

No, Gurfa is a holy handful

cupped, of eau de vie, of life.


Gurfa pronounced goo-hr-fah is an Arabic word. It means the amount of water that can be scooped up in a hand

Ceinwen writes short stories and poetry. She is widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She was Highly Commended in the Blue Nib Chapbook Competition [Spring 2018], won the Hedgehog Press Poetry Competition ‘Songs to Learn and Sing’. [August 2018]. Her first chapbook was published in July 2019: 'Cerddi Bach' [Little Poems], a Stickleback by Hedgehog Press. She was a winner in the Nicely Folded Paper Pamphlet Competition July 2019 and her first pamphlet is due to be published 2019/20. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, UK (2017). She believes everyone’s voice counts.