Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Woman Next Door

She was odd, they said. Eccentric. A strange one.
Blind in one eye, a Cyclops, she hid in the attic,
wrote dirty poems and, just to keep them all guessing,
she sometimes howled at the moon.

I saw her downtown, trolling fast-food dumpsters
for bits of tossed burgers or left-over potatoes.
Dressed in black from felt hat to laced slippers.
Patch over that obscene bottomless space
on her forehead, I expected her to soar suddenly
upward, broom under one arm, chanting incantations.

At the time, I was prone to odd fantasies of my own.

Once, the unexpected feather-like touch of her hand
startled me--not harsh, like the rough beating wing
of a killing hawk, but more that of a baby bird.
Lost. Hungry. Frightened. In search of its home

Pris Campbell

This poem took second place in the 2004 July PBL
intraboard poetry competition


Michael Parker said...

I really love this! It is worthy of an award. Thanks for posting it, Pris. You should consider reading this one on the Mipo Radio show!

Michael Parker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pris said...

Hi Micheal
The posting on that said it had to be a published poem. I've been very lax in submitting this year, so would have to do that first. This is a poem that's close to my own heart, too. Thanks for commenting!

Steven Moore said...

Hi Pris

Many thanks for the support on Silliman's Blog.
I've always enjoyed your comments on that blog - the voice of female sanity & connectedness amongst the self-indulgent mind games of the men.

I find it odd that (apart from you) there never seems to be any mention of what I would consider the important things in life for a poet (in fact for anyone) - love, heart, humour, softness, connexion, passion, compassion, lightness, openness, honour, nobility, beauty, etc.
These are the qualities I find in your poems, and because of that I feel you with me when I'm reading them.

Thank you.

Steven Moore (stefen)

(If you'd like the complete text of the Chinese poem I quoted from then email me & I'll send it: