Posted by: janetleigh | October 28, 2007

Dry Bones in Minnesota

morning_birches.jpg

Dry Bones in Minnesota

You’d stand there arms crossed
in front, gathering your waist
with floured hands, a pause
from oven to table, your silhouette
perfectly framed in stained glass,
staring out over potted pansies,
eyes following the sagging line,
a clothesline too close to ground,
bird bath rimmed in chickadees,
dry bones and brittle branches,
skin cracked and peeling –
old birch out back reminds you,
your own sore dusted marrow.

You’d bend to tender roses hand picked
for you and he, now Grandpa’s Place,
a place which claims my roots,
in the yard out back among Queen Anne’s lace.
Thinking back now –
to earlier days of gathering;
lily-of-the-valley, Becky, little bells &
cockleshells, kindling, and purple violets
placed within your favorite vase
upon the kitchen window shelf,
with little purpose hands,
where your tender gaze would rest
oh Grandma
how I miss you, and all of Braham’s nest.

Copyright © Janet Leigh Dowd

Picture “Morning Birches” by Charlotte Garrett

[2nd place winning poem, online 2007 Poetry Super Highway Poetry contest]

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Responses

  1. Very moving, full of emotion

  2. I’m glad you read this piece, Amanda and you experienced the emotion so strongly. This is one of my favorite pieces; I just won 2nd place with this in the Poetry Super Highway 2007 Poetry Contest. :)

  3. What lucid description.
    i want to be there.
    It felt like i was there.

  4. you start this poem very very strong

    “You’d stand there arms crossed
    in front, gathering your waist
    with floured hands,”

    very nicely written

  5. A nice intimate portrait with lots of clear detail. No wonder it got in second place ;)

    I liked the way these images swiftly followed one another:

    ‘[…] with floured hands, a pause
    from oven to table, your silhouette
    perfectly framed in stained glass,
    staring out over potted pansies,
    eyes following the sagging line,
    a clothesline too close to ground […]’

    There is some nice assonance and alliteration there too. I like that kind of thing.

  6. Christine, I’d love for you to be there, too. You’d know a peace and love to last a lifetime. I still cry while reading this poem, decades after. My grandparents gave me the foundation every child should have in their formative years. Peace be with you, always, my friend…:)

  7. Thank you for your comment, Brian. It means a lot coming from you.

  8. You’d be surprised what those lines you like so much mean poetry-wise. An author, who has several novels under his belt, wrote The Historical Phantasmatic and the Semantics of Childhood – An Analysis on the first 1/2 of this piece that totally blew me away. He analyzed its meaning, line by line. There was no way he could have known so much about me, my grandparents, or my circumstances short of ESP. But, he was spot-on. I didn’t know such a thing existed. It’s truly amazing what can be gleaned from words by one whose very existence depends on them.

  9. You do a great job of transporting your readers to the setting in the poem.

    I appreciate learning that from you, Sara..:)


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