The Shawl, in the Land of Furies, by J. Scott Conyer
Winning Poem from Poetry for the Mind's Joy, The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress
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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.
Furies we bid follow the small puffs
of woodland smoke,
In a place where cottony clouds give rides
in the absence of magic carpets.
I picked up some stems to weave you
a shawl of changing colors-
You hid a face that wanted to cry at these
But until the earthy smell I dream that you
were born with leaves you,
Like a hunting hound does, I seem to do,
and I'll follow them as
They follow you. Past dales of wicker trickery,
over the next hill or even
In my memory. Even as a whimsical bidding of
single purpose snakes
Its cold squeezes through the intentions that
always get away from me,
Will I remember what I started out hoping
to have happen?
Or, will those furies that bedevil and move
the springs that share their
Wet — and nourish the goose-bumps on your
skin that I play connect the dots
With — will they find me before I find you?
In a lighted place with pillars lining and
cherubic tunes piped from
An aerie, you and I from there twine
your chestnut main into a
Lifeline. Then, as now, a braid will anchor
our wrists and umbilical our fever.
Ivy Tech Community College, Bloomington Campus, Bloomington, IN
Faculty Contact: Christine Brandel, Assistant Professor, English Department