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Poems can be deceptively simple, carrying deep emotion in seemingly mundane images or an easy-to-understand form. The poet introduced this poem, read during the open mic at the April Hoot, with a brief mention that the person it was written for had recently died, not only a potter, but a Vietnam Veteran. That past experience prepares us for potential trauma, a dramatic, difficult life or death. Instead, this quiet poem sighs mournfully at the ways the world bends us, and wonders what we could each be if allowed to grow naturally, freely. The strong opening 3-line stanza is mirrored by the equally powerful 3-line ending. The middle serves to present the single forest image and lead us from the figurative bending by the world to the more literal, visceral feeling of growing strong under the fullness of the sun. The overall effect is that we even more deeply feel the “losses” of the title than if they had been enumerated.
-- Lesley Kimball
for John, an extraordinary potter
We are bent
not by what we are,
but what the world would have us be.
Like a single tree overwhelmed by the surrounding forest
we struggle toward the sunlight,
to find the space to grow.
We become gnarled and tangled
our forms unrecognized
from their beginnings.
What would we be
if each stood in a meadow
bathed in sun?
- Nancy Donovan
"Losses” copyright 2007 by Nancy Donovan. Nancy Donovan is a mother, grandmother, nurse, potter, poet, believer in dreams, lover of the sea. She retired from nursing 4 years ago and now lives in Hampton, for many years her summer place, where she is very happy.
Please note: Poems submitted to this column should not exceed nineteen lines.