Thursday, 28 January 2021

Missing Pieces


I bought this jigsaw puzzle a few years ago from a charity shop. When I put it together I found that it had a piece missing, just by wren's throat. This reminded me of the many hours I'd spent with my parents as a child, completing jigsaw puzzles. Every time, my father always hid one piece, so that I always thought there was a final piece missing. After a few moments he'd reveal the piece he'd been keeping in his hand, so pleased with himself that I'd fallen for his trickery one more time. 

Yesterday I decided to put the puzzle together again. It has sat in its box on a shelf since the last time, so I was surprised to to find a second piece missing, this time from the outer circle. This is another level of incompleteness. The circle will never be whole. And yet I feel fine with the imperfections.

The wren was revered by the Celts, who admired its fastidiousness and were inspired by its song. The symbolic meanings of wren include freedom of spirit, joy and connection. Wren reminds us that it's the quality of the relationships that we forge that enriches our lives. What does a missing piece or two of a jigsaw matter when you have spent time with those you love completing the bigger picture?

I wrote this poem after the first time of doing the puzzle with my partner.

Wren Jigsaw

From the start I'd said there could be pieces missing.
We went ahead, unmoved by incompletion. Just let
her eye be whole, you said. 

And so the bird grew in her frame of green and grey.
What I remember most is your small hand holding
the pieces, our fingers brushing.

The wren held us in time, gathering  and garnering
to make her complete, as she in her own world would
do with song and nest.

You found her eye, put it in place. The missing piece
was at her throat, and yet she sang out unaware one
part of her was lost.


  1. How nice to find your blog again - out of the blue, so to speak... When I think of wren's I always think of old farthing coins - my grandfather gave me some as boy though they were long gone as tender. Funnily enough we did a jigsaw - one piece missing too - only last week. The tap of fitting a piece must be one of the most satisfying of sounds - so long as it's me that tapping - ha ha!
    Stay well - and maybe visit the Bikeshed - I was writing about talismans today and there's a link you'd like I'm sure.

  2. What a beautiful reflection and poem, Jill. And to The bike shed's comment, how synchronistic . . .it was my friend's 80th birthday yesterday and I bought him an old farthing key ring from the year of his birth! This all fills me with joy x

  3. A beautiful poem Jill, I love wrens and have recently re-discovered jigsaws. The idea of the always-missing piece is a potent one. Thank you.