Sunday, December 14, 2008

BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI by Nancy Simpson

All those times, all those bridges, 
Georgia to Florida, sand
in his shoes, red clay in his pocket,
I wonder what passed through my father's mind.

He never said much about hurricanes
or corn, except that you pull it not pick it
One summer in Georgia I promised to pull
all the corn in ten acres he planted.

Indolent girl, red clay in my pocket,
I remember a movie in east Atlanta.
Prisoners built a bridge across water,
building, building the whole movie.

I was too young to know why
they blew it all to pieces in the end.
This morning a half drowned woman wakes me.
I open the window.  She has come many miles

across water.  Her memories are mine.
She gives me one starfish, one mango
and reminds me how I climbed the tree
when the flood came, after the hurricane.

I give her anemone for starfish.
I give her a mountain, the safest place to be.

from  NIGHT STUDENT

7 comments:

Richard said...

Nancy, Thanks for the wonderful write-up on my class. I hope it does some good.
Richard

Nancy Simpson said...

You're welcome, Richard. I know that class and how it works. It always generates lots of new stories. I have my fingers crossed that you will have a full house. You know that you will be teaching in the new studio, don't you?. It's perfect.

Tipper said...

Nancy-this is one of my very favorite of yours-I just love it!

Nancy Simpson said...

Thanks, Tipper.

"I give her a mountain."

Anonymous said...

Nancy,
Like Tipper I really like that poem. It has a clever ending! Glenda Barrett

Nancy Simpson said...

Thanks Glenda Barrett, I appreciate your comment about the end of the poem. I have felt safe here in the mountains since I first came here. But, I must tell you, that last line of that poem was inspired by a personal conversation I had with Kathryn Stripling Byer way back in the 1970's. On the phone, I was telling her how I felt safe here and she said her mother way down in south Georgia heard a radio or tv announcer say that Cullowhee was the safest place to be should a nuclear disaster occur. Then I changed some words in the poem and put that line last.

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