29 November 2014

Alone

 "Glycine (Wisteria), Châtillon," vintage albumen print, by Eugène Atget


Fear, ridicule and pity ooze her way
from stranger-neighbors thick with family:
In another age, she would be branded
witch as outsider, spinster and midwife.

But here they leave her alone, only skirt
her house on Halloween, pass by ducking
to avoid wisteria vines dangling
beyond their bounds of invisible fence.

Safety, then, to stay on Main Street rather
than vulnerable to back-street attack.
Safety to be a story told by wise
whispering children to hushed visitors.

She, cushioned by silence, doesn’t know she
is muse to hopeful writers and artists—
Nor do they know she composes music
to their tiptoeing, chirping and warbling.




at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.
Also posted at Poets United Poetry Pantry #230


Copyright © 2014 S.L.Chast




18 comments:

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Hi Susan--this is wonderful! I especially love the last stanza!

Mary said...

Hmm, I thought I had commented on this one, Susan. Didn't I?

The sadness and feelings of aloneness are palatable in this poem, Susan. It encompasses so much. First of all, it must be kind of painful to wonder what others think & fear that others might ridicule or pity. Second verse brings out the aloneness she feels. Third stanza brings about a feeling of relief that she is safe on a main street. Fourth stanza, perhaps the hope that she is a muse for others as well as someone who has talents that others who either fear or ridicule or ignore her do not see. This inspires me to try to look beyond the exteriors of others, to reach out with a hand and say hello & 'I see you.'

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh I love Mary's response....to say "I see you" to others........I resonate with the being branded witch or outsider in earlier times........LOVE that she is muse to hopeful artists and writers, and that she composes music to their tiptoing. Very cool write.

Grace said...

I like the turn from fear to being a muse ~ I have learned not to judge others too hastily and based on other's opinions ~ There is wisdom in taking the time to get the know the person well ~

Gillena Cox said...

luv the silent symbiosis happening in this scene
have a nice Sunday

much love...

totomai said...

i can feel her. most of times, people are so judgmental.
but i like the twist you gave her - being a muse to artist, etc.

Gabriella said...

This is both sad and beautiful, Susan. There is so much that we cannot, or fail to see, including about ourselves.

rallentanda said...

At least the woman who does not fit into the mould of societal expectations is not burnt at the stake as a witch any longer....a small step in the ongoing challenge to attain equality for women in a mysogynistic world.

humbird said...

Ha. Love these two-side connection of 'her' and 'artists, writers' .

Björn Rudberg said...

To be the odd one in a tight neighborhood.. somehow the outlet can be found in other ways these days.. and being burnt at the stake is less likely.. still all human need other humans.. and being a witch and part of people's nightmares can not be easy...

awakenedwords said...

ah, the life of the loner...comfortable with the solitude, but taking little bits from the life around them

Abin Chakraborty said...

thats a very interesting depiction of a lonely heart.filled with sepia-tones longings.

Nataša Dolenc said...

lovely, such an interesting idea... especially loved the last verse, amazing!

C.C. said...

I took from this the idea that she carries on, either unaware or refusing to be affected, by the gossip surrounding her....she creates beauty of her own in spite of others....even inspired by others. It's an inspirational way to live!

oldegg said...

What a great Atget photo you found; his work really sings. I liked how you included the word "ducking" in too which was mild punishment for strange witch like individuals that couldn't be trusted and were naturally suspected of just about anything...especially if they had a black cat!.

dsnake1 said...

Strange, it seems, that in this concrete jungle that i am living in, there are many, especially the elderly, who are alone. You have written a very thought-provoking poem, Susan.

soulsmusic said...

You have captured well the closed off feeling of the image, almost secretive, yet somehow solid and firm, as well as all the emotions that would flow from those circumstances.

Elizabeth

Myrna R. said...

So sad when preconceptions keep us from knowing people who have much to share. I like the feel of this poem. It conveys the irrationality of judging others, of believing gossip and thriving on mysterious stories about people - without trying to know them.