January 20, 2010

The Gift (RWP #110)

(photo courtesy of Photobucket)

This week’s prompt left me with lumps on my forehead (from banging it on my desk!)
Here is what I came up with...

She wore her heart as a new spring blossom
Held gently in an open palm, ready,
Childlike, with all the best intentions.
Her gift, some small thing, yet significant.

Like all blooms, ultimately withering.
Colors fade, pollens dry and blow away.
Still she waited, now tentative; her eyes
Wavering, showing fewer tomorrows.

At last a taker. Not as first prayed for,
But a callused grasp; rougher, unequal.
No handsome prince; an honest offer still.

The contract sealed, a future now entwined.
Made to forget her dreams so innocent,
To live a life she truly never chose.

I had my “fluent in French” daughter-in-law choose a poem, (A Une Femme by Paul Verlaine), which I could not make heads or tails of! None of the words sounded even remotely like English (except one line I transliterated into, "My pendant contains egg salad"). So instead I chose to use the poem's structure, and as the French (to me at least) seem to be all about “amour” and yet seem so jaded about it, that thought gave me the idea for this piece.


  1. Hi Cynthia,

    That pendant sounds very interesting, pity you didn't continue! But this is lovely; sad but lovely.

  2. From Therese Broderick -- Beautiful! I think the sounds you chose for the last words of the first two stanzas do, indeed, lend a sonnet-feel to the poem: short e in "ready" and "intentions"; short i in "intentions" and "significant"; w in "withering" and "tomorrow" and "blow away." Soft withering sounds. This line is so sad but true:
    Like all blooms, ultimately withering.

  3. There are times that the idea, that little spark itself, is worth the prompt or idea.

    This sings...a melancholy tune, to be sure...but it sings.

  4. Bittersweet and beautiful... love the turn of phrase "showing fewer tomorrows". If this is what happens when you transliterate Verlaine, you should do it more often. ;)

  5. a reminder that the spring blossom is not the be-all and end-all of the plant's existance.

  6. Softly melancholy, the truth is written here. I'm not familiar with A Une Femme but will read it now. Delightful phrases and word use in your transliteration!

  7. This truly touched me Cynthia.-Irene

  8. This piece seems to call to mind older days. She had to wait for a suitor, she could never be assertive or initiate the affair. Or so common wisdom held. This is evident in this poem as she goes from hopeful and innocent through a sad descent to "I'll take anything I can get." Very sad. Well done.


  9. So very sad. So very SAD! I find myself longing for some egg salad, my ultimate comfort food... oh, I can relate to her and that... makes me sad.

  10. You do a great job with tone in this one -- that sense of ennui.

  11. Poor Madame Verlaine,she had no idea of what her life would be with her drunken debauched husband!

  12. lovely for sure...and sad...but I enjoy sad poems...thanks for this....