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“Former Site Of”

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………………………….FORMER SITE OF
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………………………….Measured in one way, my reedless lakeline
………………………….reaches twenty miles and a few more fractals;
………………………….but on any evening in late October, edges
………………………….shrink and shirk their definitions. Length
………………………….weakens, looking as much like width as
………………………….a sorry memory mimics a contrition. Mind you:
………………………….it is not a true lake, only my leveling reservoir
………………………….that submerged a former hamlet — evacuated
………………………….houses, barns, lots and yards — of which the name
………………………….is known, if at all, as words on a metal sign
………………………….posted by a county bridge.  If you think of
………………………….the name as your own, it is. And whenever
………………………….spring comes, jonquils moist with two
………………………….wheeling colors, you can walk to the bridge’s
………………………….middle girder, bow to the drawdown. You are,
………………………….it must be said, not any of the newcomers
………………………….filling the surrogate town raised upon a hill.
………………………….Nor are you the reader here. You are that day
………………………….which I most regret. No — that hour, one of
………………………….better thousands with him, which should have
………………………….by now plumbed the deepest,  falsest bottom.
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………………………….by Therese L. Broderick
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Writer’s Statement — This poem was composed in response to prompt #91 on ReadWritePoem. The poem is based upon notes I took last year while driving past a reservoir. This version  benefited from the feedback of local first readers MM and JG. The tone and imagery may be influenced by Robert Frost’s poem “Directive.”
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About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

18 responses »

  1. Excellent work, Gwen!

    Like

  2. Hello Therese,

    I like the suggestion of the lives once lived in the submerged village, remembered only as letters on a metal plate. I like the jonquils coming with the Spring and that lingering moment of regret.

    Like

  3. There is so much regret in this. Beautiful words.

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  4. Wonderful work. So many lingering images..

    misty, dusty

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  5. There’s a TVA lake near where I went to school. On the “islands” you can see the remains of foundations still planted with jonquils and iris. Thanks for reminding me.

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  6. This is lovely — intriguing and melancholy. I especially like

    my reedless lakeline / reaches twenty miles and a few more fractals

    and

    If you think of / the name as your own, it is.

    Like

  7. This is a sad poem that reminded me of a book I read in the summer. You have explained the whole image wonderfully in very little space. I really enjoyed sharing your poem today. Thank you.

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  8. I very much like the explanatory voice in this, which all at once creates an appealing cadence, a scrutinizing gaze, and moral authority. Your poem neatly scans the scene and the speaker, and even (tangentially) the reader with that same gaze and judgment. Great sounds and details.

    Like

  9. Wow! The movement from fall to spring, the exploration of memory through this perfect image of a submerged village, this is just fantastic.

    Like

  10. I love the connection you make between the lake/submerged village and the memory/regret. Below is my favorite passage, but the whole poem was beautiful.

    edges
    shrink and shirk their definitions. Length
    weakens, looking as much like width as
    a sorry memory mimics a contrition

    Like

  11. What a fantastic metaphor – the damm/ned hamlet! Nice!

    Like

  12. What a fabulous piece. I can almost see the ghosts of that hamlet.

    Like

  13. Your descriptive held my imagination from first to last. I sense the satisfaction in your work you must feel. Excellent poem.
    DH

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  14. How lovely and evocative of a sad, forgotten place and time…

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  15. The whole poem is lovely, as others have already attested. I particularly like the way the ending pulls all that description into a tidy knot of despair, the realization that we remember not just the day but the hour of our deepest regrets. If this is outside your comfort zone, it is a zone which is working very well.

    Like

  16. Wow. You do well outside of your comfort zone!

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  17. nicely done….I really like the ending….flaws?…not that I can see….but I can never see flaws in poems….i use to see flaws in mine because I have never written much…..now I just ACCEPT my own words…with all the flaws that mite be there..learning to accept in general is difficult…so just keep writing your flawLESS poems Therese

    Like

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