Poetry Friday July 5, 2019

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by educator and poet, Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Go and read her triolet and make sure to check out the links to other participants sharing poetry today.

I am continuing to work on poems from 1958, when my family joined other relatives on an adventure into the Pine Valley region in Northern British Columbia. I'm committed to sharing a bit every week to keep me going. They might not be in any kind of order. I just hope to get some kind of drafts out there. I appreciate feedback on the construction of the poetry and ideas and questions about what information might be missing.

Today's poem combines a memory of mine about crossing the swollen Pine River with a memory from my Uncle Bill.

CROSSING

Gorged on autumn rain,
the Pine River
churned and roiled
ravenous waves licking
at the bridge deck,
readying to devour it whole.

Timothy was sick,
getting worse,
might not make it,
had to 
see a doctor,
had to
chance the river,
cross the bridge,
make a trip
to Prince George.

Mommy got us
kids ready to go.

Waiting
in the car,
I watched
adults determine
the least dangerous
way to cross.

Searching
their anxious faces
for sign of
comfort,
assurance,

found none.

Heard only
the snarling roar
of the hungry torrent.

Finally,
a decision was made.

Out of the car we tumbled.

Mommy held
the bundled up baby
in one arm and
the hand of James
in the other.

Squeezing hard onto
the hands of
my two younger sisters,
one on either side of me,
we traversed the trembling span,
terrified it would rip apart
beneath us.

On the other side,
fear abated as
we turned to watch
the station wagon,
driven by my uncle,
ease it’s way
across the bridge.



Links to previous poems are here:

Leaving

Characters

Journey

Arrival

Preparedness 

Ready and Willing 

Larder

Laundry

Diaper Duty

Skunk Trouble

Working

Pawns

16 comments:

  1. Oh my, what a scary memory, one I'm sure you'll never forget! I'm glad you all made it and enjoyed each part shared of those anxious moments from a child's POV --
    Searching
    their anxious faces
    for sign of
    comfort,
    assurance,

    found none.

    That is what kids do, isn't it, watch faces! Well done, Cheriee!

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    1. Thanks Linda. I thinks so. It's what I remember aside from that crossing of the bridge.

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  2. Cheriee, your opening stanza provided a vivid description of the swelling river. The 2nd to the last stanza continued to engage the reader in feeling the tenseness of the situation, all terrifying for a child.

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  3. Wow! I really look forward to reading a new poem each week. I want to know more about who Timothy is -- the bundled baby? The action begins right away in this. My favorite part is the kids looking at the adult faces for signs that things would be OK. That is such a truth. That first word, gorged, really pulled me in. I grew up around "a gorge" which is a different meaning of the word...so it took me a second. But, the idea of being gorged on river water is a great beginning.

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    1. Yes, Timmy is the bundled baby. Perhaps I have edited it for too much brevity and lost meaning in the process.

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  4. What happened to Timothy??

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    Replies
    1. That was my question, too! So glad to hear all turned out well. Thanks for sharing these stories, Cheriee.

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  5. What a story, I was drawn in by your first stanza also–I like how you again weave more description into the two closing stanzas–powerful poem Cheriee.

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  6. So frightening when the adults aren't reassuring!

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  7. What a dramatic moment. I was holding my breath as you crossed the bridge over the roiling, raging river.

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  8. What Kay said!! And I, too, am glad to hear that all turned out well for Timothy!

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  9. Oh Cheriee, what a moment that you've brought to life for us. I can't begin to imagine how many times you've probably replayed it in your memory. Yes, I want to read this book you eventually finish and publish, but I want to see the movie too!

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  10. Yikes. The danger, your child's fear, is palpably captured here, Cheriee. I agree with others that it's important to know who Timothy is, and I was curious about which parts of this is your memory and which parts come from your uncle. Were they about the same incident?

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    Replies
    1. The memory is mostly mine. I didn't remember what it was all about. It was Uncle Bill who told me about having to take Timmy to a doctor because he was very ill. We figure they fit together.

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