30 September 2011

100 Word Story: January Child

I've been reading 100 word stories at Mr. London Street this week and was inspired to offer this:

Mother napped me on the porch to be toughened 
by the gales of winter, to cut teeth on New England nor'easters 
and fight the undeclared war against girls. 
Middle child, only girl, small for my age.

I grew to a storm wintered warrior child, 
sight practiced on bare lilac thicket, schooled by wind 
in how the world sounds, cries accompanied 
by jays and blackbirds, layered against the elements.

Perhaps my skirmishes were attempts to win 
that unwinable war but I fought with the fury of calling,
battered brothers' enemies, marshaled anger from hidden fronts 
as I gave birth to myself.

(photo from all-free-download.com)


  1. Strong affirmation and a sure hand. I loved the imagery, especially the child on the porch in the first stanza.
    The last line is a beautiful mantra!

  2. Rosaria, Napping on the porch in January, February and beyond is a true story. I think you understand about marshaling anger from hidden fronts but, yes, we are always giving birth to ourselves.

  3. That is an awesome poem. Read it twice and it gets better with each reading so I think I'll read again. Did not know you like to write poetry. You are talented.

  4. Ditto Ca. Girl....I got lots more the second time I read it.

    you are indeed very talented.

  5. Wonderful piece, that. And once again, you amaze.

  6. CG, I love poetry above all other writing. I always read and cherish poetry. I used to write a long time ago and thought it had abandoned me leaving me bereft. I invited it back into my life.

    Nanny, It's the many layers of life. It makes us who we are but also gives us that which we struggle against.

    Lou, Grazie tante, mio amico.

  7. Excellent, Mary. See? I knew there was poetry percolating inside you.

  8. Oh, Mary!! Where have you been hiding your poetry? Thank goodness you invited her back. I just love the imagery of this child schooled by wind and learning the wild call of the birds, preparing her for that undeclared war against girls. (!) Just wonderful.

    Truth is my poetry went into hiding too, and it was blog poets who caused me to invite it back into my life.

    Another reason I love it is that you have given voice to an image a friend told me years ago. I worked with this man, about 6'6" tall, booming voice. He told me that when he was a baby his mother would dress him up in warm clothes and set him on the porch to get acclimated to the cold. I was so taken with it! When I've told people about it, they've thought it sounded cruel. I think it sounds amazingly trusting and forward-seeing.

    I look forward to more poems!

  9. Wow. You've taken the 100-word essay to a whole new place. I'd heard of napping in the cold, but your interpretation of it is stunning.

  10. Patti, So it seems. I'm grateful.

    Ruth, The inspiration from blog poets (like you in a "play it forward" move) did it for me, too. My mother used to tell me about this and saw it as a way to keep me healthy. She maintained I was never sick because I was hearty. To this day, I'm healthy and very rarely ill. But it is quite a perspective for a baby to be on that porch in New England winter.

    Lauren, What is it that you like?


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