Monday, April 9, 2012

Our Only Wish - 9/30

So we're really nine days in already? Time sure flies when you're always trying to write something good, and oh, do I have a treat for the geeks out there today! I've been wanting to write this persona poem for months, and I just knew there would come a day to light a fire under me and get it done. Well, thanks to Maureen Thorson over at, today is the day.

The prompt goes:
Our prompt for today is to write a persona poem — a kind of dramatic monologue. Here’s Rita Dove channeling Beethoven, and Robert Browning giving voice to a very grumpy monk. The Summer 2008 issue of Poemeleon furnishes many more great examples. So pick a character to inhabit — a person from history, an imaginary or mythical person (like Snow White or Zeus), or just someone you’re not (an Olympic marathon champion, perhaps? I know I’m not one of those), and write in their voice.
And oohwee do I love what I turned out today! Get ready, I'm taking y'all to Middle-Earth.

Our Only Wish

We used to fish, felt the wriggle
of worms between our fingers,
between gritty earth and
hook, shiny, shiny hook.
We would wake to sunshine,
warm gold spilled across grass,
blades green like trees, trees
that gave up hunting for their hearts.

We used to walk, and speak
names our tongue does not remember.
Others used to know us, their
eyes and greetings bright,
but not so bright
as hers.

We did not used to hide.
We used to sleep beside the river,
it would sing to us in ripples
and the splash of spawning fish.
We did not used to fear the sun,
back before the river and
the mud and
my precious.
We heard her singing.
She wasn’t his to take, his hands
stealing her from riverbeds,
always keeping their secrets,
she was ours! Ours! She loved us,
she called to us,
her gold, her beautiful glow,
my precious.
Our hands finding his throat.

When they found us,
they hated us,
cursed us into the wilds
with lips like old wormses,
and she,
she betrayed us,
gravel in our throat.
We begged the moon to
crush us, the mists
to swallow us whole,
and inside drippy mountainses
we…were. Our hair
falling out like our teeth
falling out between uncrunchable stones
and our voiceless, sore weeping.
Our nails, broken
as we climbed deeper into
shadow and further
away from
the hateful, rotten sun.

The world forgot us and we
forgot the world,
down where fishes swim eyeless
and our whispers were not
our friends. We forgot
the taste of bread, the sound
of trees, the softness of the wind.
Down where the air no longer
echoed our shame in
calls, “murderer, murderer,”
we even forgot our own name.

Thank you,
my precious.


  1. You have some great imagery here. Standouts for me included: "the river,/it would sing to us in ripples" and "Our hair/falling out like our teeth/falling out between uncrunchable stones"

    Thanks for the read, Michelle

    1. Thank you for your feedback, Michelle. I'm glad you enjoyed the piece. I had some pretty lush inspiration to go off of with this, so it's good to know some of that came through in the finished product.