Gazing Girl

Written for:  Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads – Wordy Thursday with Wild Woman
“Piggyback Poems”

The Horses, the Sorrow,
the Umbilicus

Horses were turned loose in the child’s sorrow.
They galloped bare-boned, tore up her imagination’s
pasture. Simple things became surreal, malevolent –
a shoelace, a windup toy, the cross of a t
or the lost dot in her mother’s eye. Continents of grief
to traverse. She hadn’t yet seen the tidily grassed graves
at Arras or families rounded up in town squares, poisoned
blankets covering bodies in Haida Gwaii. Sometimes
under the night sky she mounted a mare and rode
into morning, through sunflowered bonfires, through
sermons and eulogies, past incense and teargas
till she reached the saltwater tide. She never knew
if she had swallowed sadness through her umbilicus,
joined still to her mother’s placental algebra.
The girl sat awhile, gazing out over the waves
to the rapidly rising sun, then dismounted,
looking to her left, looking to her right –

Maureen Hynes

[Note: “The horses were turned loose in the child’s sorrow” is the first line of Carolyn Forche’ ‘s poem, “Sequestered Writing”, from Blue Hour (New York: Harper Collins, 2003; “Looking to the left, looking to the right. She-” is the last line of Gail Scott’s “Heroine” (Toronto: Coach House, 1987).]

“I thought this might be a fun idea for a prompt. For your challenge: Choose one line from this poem, or another poem of your choice. Make this line the first line of your new poem. Attribute the line borrowed to the appropriate source. Have fun!”

The girl sat awhile gazing out over the waves
on this unusually bright day in midst
of March’s blustery threat. Except for gush
of white water mountains and gentle
lapping touching shore, only sound
to be found was squawking seagulls swooping
onto sand, imprinting it with small claw
drawings like hieroglyphics on a cave wall.
Intense concentration on the ocean’s comings
and goings, blurs her vision, replaces
it with a dream of floating effortlessly,
carefree on backs of waves that morph
into dolphins, blue-gray as the water.
Young, long-haired, laughing girl
who might have stopped time
if she could.

About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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4 Responses to Gazing Girl

  1. This is so wonderful, Sara! I especially love the waves turning into dolphins……and the vision of that long-haired laughing girl, who might have stopped time if she could. Loved this!


  2. Ah, there’s some lovely imagery here, from claw hieroglyphs to waves morphing into dolphins. The idea of stopping time is so liberating.


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