a variation upon (or pale imitation of) phibby venable’s “there is a white girl.”

 

She picks her way (in her world, there is no time and place

For something so frivolous as traipsing)

Through narrow and informal trails which criss-cross

The slump-shouldered hills above town,

Thick pine stands obscuring the abandoned woolen mill,

The ungainly pock-marks of the abandoned quarries below.

She is in love (but coyly, chastely) with the mountain laurel,

Unremarkable and unprepossessing in its pallidity,

Demure foil for the hawkweed, the Indian paintbrush,

The resigned counterpoint without which

The beautiful may claim no more than some vague quality,

Some ethereal, gauzy notion which sets them apart.

She has no pretensions concerning her own self

(Plain as the dirt on Bootjack Hill, she reckons,

Although she entertains the odd fanciful notion:

Small hotels in Corfu, out-of-the-way Parisian nightspots,

Tete-a-tetes with second sons of some minor baroness)

And she contents herself with the occasional ramble over the knolls,

Meandering silently among the ubiquitous tiny flowers,

Joining them in understated and minor communion,

The mute and muted envy of the canvas

Toward the bright and showy pigments of the palette.

 

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: Once again I stand astride wide shoulders .

Submitted for this fortuitously timed Toads challenge.

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11 thoughts on “a variation upon (or pale imitation of) phibby venable’s “there is a white girl.”

  1. I’ve got to admit that your writing is often too high-fallutin for me. I don’t understand this poem. I feel dumb. I never finished college. I like your baseball ones a lot, which makes me feel even dumber. Dumb and Dumber. Which was a dumb movie, I know, and knowing that makes me feel SMARTER.

    I also understand the ones about depressing Upstate New York stuff, because it reminds me of my sister and her family’s town, Binghamton, along with the surrounding towns that make up the “Tri-Cities” of Binghamton-Endicott-Johnson City. What a shame about IBM, Endicott Johnson, and others pulling out of there. Which is why I hate Bill Clinton and later presidents. Free trade is the worst thing that ever happened to this country, and Clinton signed the first one. (NAFTA).

    By the way, isn’t “traipsing” kind of a Yiddish thing to say? Think so. Not sure.

    Glen

      1. Hah! I’m not the only one who thought that “traipse” sounded Yiddish! Put the words traipse and Yiddish side by side in a Google search, and you get lots of results!

        Anyway, take a look at THIS link about the word. No, not the link itself. The article that CONNECTS to the link!

        Also, I might have been thinking of “Treif”, (pronounced “traif”), which is the Yiddish word that means food that doesn’t conform with Kosher laws.

        http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19970410

        Glen

  2. W.k., I love all your work, and feel so honored that you like this poem. I have trouble posting here, (the site never remembers me), so I hope you see this comment. Beautiful imagery xxx

  3. She is in love (but coyly, chastely) with the mountain laurel,
    Unremarkable and unprepossessing in its pallidity,
    Demure foil for the hawkweed, the Indian paintbrush,
    The resigned counterpoint without which
    The beautiful may claim no more than some vague quality,
    Some ethereal, gauzy notion which sets them apart…

    I hope your readers pause to savour your exceptional use of vocabulary in these and many other lines. I often bemoan the fate of the English language and how impoverished the general working vocab has become, so this strikes delight into my heart. One could do worse than nurture a love of flowers.

  4. i love your writing all the time on every subject! how’s that?
    i will tell you that this poem immediately brought to mind a great song by Richard Buckner. here is a link to a performance of it (“A Gauzy Dress in the Sun”) though here it sounds very different from the studio version on whatever record of his it was on, back in the mid-90’s. okay here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc3N6hPIrQA
    this is a compliment, by the way. 🙂

  5. “slump-shouldered hills above town” , “Plain as the dirt on Bootjack Hill, she reckons” (I love “her” – such a great job with personification!) …and Kerry mentions a few examples as well of your amazing beautiful gift with this challenge.

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