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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry for the Mind's Joy > Winning Poem: The Shawl, in the Land of Furies
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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
   unsuspecting moments.
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