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Virgin Driftless (1 Viewer)


WF Veterans
Virgin Driftless

Deepened blue of nameless hue
paint the broken knuckled land
pocked and pitted with caves
and holes that open to nowhere—

An old man through this place
meanders, a last great wanderer,
through the marshes, to gather
downy pussywillow as he goes.

From the flooded maple flats
he studied dying cottonwood
centuries old, slowly hollowed
by bug, bird, pupa and peck…

In those bottoms he found her,
a gangle-legged homely Joan
ugly as a high summer cicada,
the youngster prepared to try…

Sheltered by faded cottonwood
she was born as winter broke
enfeebled by soft southerlies,
naked face and naked boughs—

In a dense bed of down she slept,
and to the first touches of saffron
she dared to voice her virgin cries,
hunger a worm in her belly grew

Shrill, a shriek amid the peepers
bell bright trill, a pond’s refrain
it was to the waters and frogs
she went to assuage that ache

Slim toes broke the surface,
waters, tepid and rich as tea,
silt ripe with decayed litter,
silken and slick, luscious—

On gangling limbs she wades,
in a dancer’s effortless flow,
toes in, press, pull…point—

In a flutter of white she danced,
among the lilies and tepid tea...


WF Veterans
I'm thinking on this one, Darkkin. It has a beguiling, dark, essence to it, strung with words that seem fragile and beautiful ,yet scary, at the same time. I'm very intrigued. A wonderful piece.


Poetry Mentor
Staff member
Senior Mentor
The gorgeous imagery shows me a young orphaned swan....love the imagery of the dark water like tepid tea, this is the kind of imagery that sets your poetry apart, and makes it unforgettable....