Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Skipping rhyme

Inspired by this image prompt

How does a child take root in
the faulty soil of
playground politics
when the bonds are all formed
before she arrives and
the rank and order is
so defined
in unwritten ways she
will surely never decipher?

They taunted her until she
sulked away to a
corner of the yard where she
scowled at their skipping songs
under sallow bangs and
picked at a leaf that
strayed into her hand,
sucked its violet strand like
sweet-ripe chewing gum.

And the curious ants crawled
up her legs from the
earth where she sat,
tickling so she
brushed them off,
scratching at newfound
noseeum bites drawing
slow smooth beads of
scarlet brown across
the ramshackle folds of
her grass-stained
cotton sundress.

Rachel Westfall
August 25, 2009


Catvibe said...

What an incredibly deep take on this prompt! I can relate to your take on her very much.

Kyddryn said...

I remember being the new kid...sigh...

Shade and Sweetwater,

Karen said...

This should be read to every teacher and playground monitor who will take charge of children in the days to come.

Michelle Johnson said...

This is exceptional writing. You captured every little girl's rejection in your poem. Hope all is well.

pawan said...

That was one of the most natural poems I have ever laid my eyes on!
Exceptionally beautiful and lucid, I am pestering my sister to read it, I guess she will like it too!


KGT (aka Cagey) said...

Touching. Well done. It seems everyone remembers a time as a child when they were tragically misunderstood. Nice work.


kenflett said...

Hi Rachel, been awhile since l've been to your blog, so nice to come to it again, like being inside for so long and then stepping outside and getting a breath of fresh air. :)

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think I'd rather be the kid alone on the side, being in nature, but that's just me. :) Who wants to do those playground rhymes and jump-rope songs anyway?!

Loved: "the faulty soil / of playground politics"

Marie said...

Rachel, this poem speaks to all outsiders.
You've written this poem with the gentle quality
of a nun who sees Christ in small children.

christopher said...


In one way or another there I go
Sliding down the solitary slide.

Poetikat said...

You have really isolated that childhood experience - the child who is not accepted. I especially liked the details you describe in which she absorbs herself to get lost in her own world - the world where she does fit.

One of your most unique and interesting pieces, Rachel.


Woman in a Window said...

Oh, that child's face and the thin of her arms. You drew it out so well before I even looked.