|Fern (rev 10/07)
Her last summer when I was ten
I knew she was ill, was all.
Several weekends were sleepovers
in Coral Gables with her.
Lemons rolled briskly under the palms
sliced in half, with peppermint sticks
for sipping straws. There were
scrapbook tours of a girlhood grown old
far from the catchings of crawdads
in Cedar Rapids ponds. Coins were
baked in a birthday cake.
I learned to help to seal the preserves.
Pour molten paraffin on top of the sweet.
Install the seal, turn down the rim.
One weekday I heard my mother
on the phone, from another room
"We don't expect her to outlast the summer."
Then I knew—to not ask her
for more than I had overheard.
The next weekend
"When will you get well?"
"Oh. By the end of summer
I'll be just fine again."
The only Fern of a young life
curled and browned September
2nd. Pour warm wax atop a jar
emplace a seal, turn tight the rim.
30 Nov 05
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oh lovely .everything
Since I obviously can't say anything that'll help this.
I have to be picky!
L4 after In. you have a double space. =D
this poem is a standout. Each simple image and action has been so clearly drawn-- like a sketch from your memory and delicately shared with the reader. beautiful, and the "artifacts" from a bygone time-- scrapbooks and sealing wax, all comforting and true things.
Line 5- spend = spent
I feel gifted. Thank you [ 10 ]
oh, my thank you again, both! Gabriella, I've fixed line four. My eyes are poor. You see like a vision should.
Grace, you know why it works? Because that's exactly how it happened, even the speech. It was just that direct. She Fern knew she would not live long (no surgury possible) So, she told me a white lie, in order to give me more time, unharmed, with her. She mentored in such nice ways. She was a writer... of fine letters. Her cousin was a famed journalist in print and broadcast, and a novelist. I did not have to novelize a thing for this piece, my very first prose compostion, drafted on the 40th annversary of this paternal g'mother's demise. THE CRITICAL POET helped here. A moderator there helped me reset the lines, verbatim, into prose-poem form. So there we are: critical helps such as yours really really do help. The item reads so much petter in the form of poetry lines.
Am so lucky to have your helps. You are no different than she was...
The day of the scrapbook "tour".... I am on the green-floored porch. I study the old lb&w images on black paper. "Crawdadding, Cedar Rapids"
A girl of about my age is wading shin-deep in a pond. Her plain cotton dress is hiked up by the hand that holds a wicker basket. A white, broad rimmed sailor's hat is on her head. She beams for the picture and at my question.
"Yes, there I am". I look up to her thinner face and asked right thien:
"Baga, when will you get well?"
Revised, raised, for new helps or comments.
Some fellow named "Wamblicantie" has raised this early poem today (10/27/07).
Thanks for that. In result of new vision I've readjusted the poem--
mostly its line breaks and punctuations. Shortened the title from "Olive Fern"
to just "Fern", because everyone adult called her that name. I've excised the baby-name,
"Baga" is being immaterial and distracting.
I hope it's alright still. I hope it's better for the trims.
ignore the spammer-- best and only way.
So happy to see this again, it's one of your best, Reid.