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Weeping willows in poetry

5 November 2010

This week’s prompt over at Big Tent Poetry was two-fold. Throughout the week, we were encouraged to leave lines from our own poetry, and then to choose a line from someone else as a starting point for a new poem. I chose the lie “and the willow weeps without knowing why” from Vivinfrance. I didn’t use the phrase exactly as given, but it inspired this little image and I went from there.

Nobody knows where she goes
each day, when she collects
her mail from the box at the end
of the lane and instead of walking
back up the path to her door
to read the bills and advertisements,
perhaps a letter from a friend,
she steps along the tree line
that edges her property and slips
in between the slender white trunks
of beech towards the hill that overlooks
the whole town. At the top
of the hill a grove of weeping willows.

I followed her up there once,
to that grove, a cluster really,
four, maybe five, willows bent over
with hunched shoulders watching
the town with one eye while tears
slipped from the other. I was only
a few metres behind her, but my lungs
puffed at the hill, and she crested
the top before me, out of sight.
By the time I rounded the crest
moments later, she was not there,
not in the grove, not on the hill,
not anywhere my vision could
fathom, and I sat down to rest
and to ponder her existence
while the willows wept
without knowing why.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 November 2010 21:30

    This is extraordinary, Mallory. Too many coincidences – our postbox is 100 yards down our long drive at the edge of a steep lane UP to the village. We look down over a river valley to where the willows weep, and we have planted beeches. One difference: it is me doing the huffing and puffing and panting!

    Congratulations on a lovely poem.

  2. 6 November 2010 00:49

    stunning piece,
    lovely done.

  3. 6 November 2010 03:15

    Wonderful. Incredibly fine word choices and visual interest!

  4. 6 November 2010 10:13

    You’ve got me wondering where she goes… 🙂

    I loved this:

    four, maybe five, willows bent over
    with hunched shoulders watching
    the town with one eye while tears
    slipped from the other.

    and in the end, that the willows wept without knowing why.

    A beautiful poem!

  5. 6 November 2010 17:45

    I enjoyed it throughly, you have done a great job…

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
    Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com

  6. 6 November 2010 22:14

    I liked the juxtapositioning of the follower to the followed, with a dream-like ending. Very nice!

  7. 7 November 2010 12:51

    Terrific influence under your control … you’re skilled at the specific (and consistent — I anticipate a treat coming to read your offering).

    “Tree line” is just one of the phrases I love. And your language, too. “Cluster” and “crested” for example.

    • 7 November 2010 17:08

      Thanks Deb, I’m touched! So glad you like what you find here.

  8. 7 November 2010 17:09

    Thanks to all for your comments (-:

  9. 7 November 2010 17:52

    Too good!

    BTW, I used your line:

    charcoal shadows

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