Guest Poet C.Lawry Brown


When the new day comes ....
the woods would beckon him
while she worried awake the morning light.
Decisions to make
--pockets were full
--cupboards were empty.
She held the infant to her breast,
Winds slapped the windowpanes with snow.
She listened
--for the promise of spring 
-- voices, cold and wet, answered.
The lure of heavy cupboards beckoned 
from the mainland
as the ferry rocked in its cradle
-- go-stay, go-stay.....
The baby swaddled in a back pack and
leaving three small girls with grandma
She goes.....
Fears abated by a sea that deceived her.
The boat docked.
Heavy snow mixed with rain.....the sidewalks
were like cornmeal mush.
Walking was difficult -- dragging a cart 
with groceries.
She rushed -- the boat was late -- recalled
for a heart attach victim.
The baby was warm but her feet wet......
hands red and cold......groceries frozen.
Out of breath, she watched as men 
used blow torches to melt the ice in the ramp cables.
She welcomed the warm cabin --
dreaded the angry, black sea.
She cuddled and nursed the baby
while the boat crashed and shuddered
with each wave.
For more than two hours they rocked,
--lulled by motion
--soothed by warmth.
The boat round the corner by the lighthouse,
its beacon an eerie glow
through the icy windows.
As she bundled the baby
the hollow of her hand was full of hope,
she opened the door to the warm glow
of the lights of home.


April, 1999

C.Lawry Brown's Questions:

This is been a poem of many transitions.

It was at first too telling, more like a newspaper report. I tried to put more of the personal into it. Do the uses of an ellipsis in various places work?

Does the go-stay motion work to show her indecision and also show the rocking?

It has been also suggested that I do it in the present tense. Would that be more effective?

It is so difficult to describe effectively something that happened without sounding like you are regurgitating it. I welcome all comments that would help me to improve this poem.

Thank you......

The Albany Poetry Workshop