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Nellie P Strowbridge                                             online poetry                                 email

               

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MAIDEN FROM THE SEA

 

Readers Comments

"Just wanted to say I’m a fan of your poetry. I have the poem "Iceberg" pinned to my studio wall. I LOVE the last line "Not even Titanic could sink her." Rachel Ryan

"I never thought I liked poetry until I heard Nellie read. She blows me away with what she writes. She makes you feel." K. Legge

"You’re so real, so personal, so interesting. I love reading you. I never knew I like poetry until I started reading your work. I was driving along listening to you read on the CBC from Dancing on Ochre Sands and the tears were streaming down my face." E. Milley

 

ICEBERG

If ‘no man is an island’

can a woman be an iceberg?

That’s what the high school boys

called me: an outsider, an outporter

come to this inland place

on a school bursary.

I should have been flattered.

Iceberg: Queen of the sea,

nameless,

her years untold, her look ageless,

her curves and regal body

sculpting her own throne.

Clad in her own mysterious self

of naked blue-pure-white body

she stirs in sun-glinted waters,

a thousand winds caressing her skin

in breathless wonder,

her shape changing against a pearly sky

as she somersaults,

cavorting with the ocean’s tides.

Oblivious to predators, stalking her bed,

she gives birth with groans that carry no pain,

dropping tiny burgs she never has to raise.

She sails on,

herself her own mast and rudder.

Not even Titanic could sink her. ©

 

A SISTER

Days beat into your ears

night held you

sun eclipsed

life stoning you:

a million rocks falling .. . .

You lay muffled

wails breaking through your pain.

Silence.

You gone from us for weeks.

There were times you

squeezed out from under the rocks

beamed as brightly as the sun

claimed the earth as yours

and rose like a kite into the sky.

Everyone saw you, heard you:

a talking kite dancing on the wind.

Your string got pulled

by those afraid you would crash in some strange country where

no one knew you cared for you loved you.

You struggled to stay

shouting protests into the wind.

You fell like a rock with edges that cut

everyone who touched you until

finally you were folded down

into a dark place,

your string invisible

your eyes blind

your tongue thick.

Shackled in the dungeon of your mind.

I hope you remember times when

you rose as light as a kite.

I wish you could always feel as light –

no strings attached. ©

 

 

THE FISHERMAN’S WIFE

Middle-aged,

she’d had more expectation of life

than laying dead fish

head to tail

like some unspoken rite:

lifting them one by one,

limp and cold,

from the icy waters

of rusty-hooped puncheons

while underneath her barbel

underneath her heart

her eighth child stirred.

And while fish bulks

got higher and higher

in the dark

skeleton-like stage

and her tired hands

threw sprinklings

of salt crystals

down on the fish,

she wondered

if next year

things would be the same.

Then when she slipped

and fell

her black, heeled rubbers

losing grip

with the briny slime

beneath her feet,

they carried her home to bed.

She didn’t speak

at first

feeling gutted and cold,

and when she whispered:

"Where is my baby?"

their silence was

too harsh an answer.

She lay in bed

for the first months

of that cold, stark winter,

and wondered often

why life chides so cruelly,

leaving her

with a dead, empty womb

and bearing the guilt

of her lost child.

She had followed

the expectations of her man;

now, try as she would,

though she searched

deep inside herself,

there was no sign

that she’d ever wanted

more out of life

than what she had.

Her dreams, her hopes

had become

as lifeless

as the fish

housed in

the darkness

of the stage. ©

1. Atlantic Advocate 2. Shadows of the Heart 3. Circle of Six 4. Luminus 5. Banked Fires 6. Sing for the Inner Ear 7. Wild on the Crest 8. March Hare Anthology, 9. Ascent Aspiration 2008. "The Fisherman’s Wife was also performed at the Arts and Culture Centre as part of a play 1992.

 

 

PERSPECTIVES

When I was a child

my teacher gave me crayons and paper

to draw some pictures,

but everything I drew had jagged lines

and circles with corners.

If you had seen my pictures

you would have mused:

"What an ugly way to perceive the world!"

These weren’t my pictures.

My hand was a strange handicap.

It couldn’t draw what I could see,

and so I put away crayons and pencils

and picked up pen and paper

and wrote my pictures down

in black and white.

If you look closely,

you will see

I’ve drawn my heart and mind

and sometimes I’ve drawn you. © Shadows of the Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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