Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Girl in the Swing

.
.

The Girl in the Swing


Just this side of a coulee, on the outskirts of the city,
We find ten year old Helen, in a new tree swing, sitting.

A gift from her grandfather, bought new in a box, dangling
from a prime tree in the pasture, capable host for hanging.

She is timid at first, getting used to the feel of strand,
Squeezing the cord accordingly, in the palm of her hand.

In time she will ascend to heights unsurpassed, in flight,
but for now, she takes in stride, the ride, future bright.


Over the years, she would be found there, floating aloft;
Drifting, dreaming winsome at times, perhaps in deep thought.

On the day she turned eighteen, she became of age, an heir,
At the apex of thrust, seeing civilization, just over there.

She had a plan in motion, had consulted a trusted adviser,
Only this confidante knew her intents, no one else the wiser.

This would be a gamble, a big step to take, to subdivide,
What began on a hunch, the numbers crunched, on this glide.


Her scheme, on the level, as level as the turf they surveyed;
In no time at all, gravel was spread, then black top laid.

Utilities in place; word on the street, lots here for sale;
Initial pricing steep, then descending, on a sliding scale.

Phases One and Two served to settle, recoup her investment;
The third and final were put in a vault, serving as profit.

Within weeks, all the lots for sale were gone, save for one,
The prime lot, the ground her willow tree proudly rested on.


From her perch, over time, she witnessed neighborly things.
The seasonal comings and goings a divided commune brings.

Families milling about, in the warm months, a barbecue glow,
When the winter cast its spell, taking turns shoveling snow.

More and more, inhabitants spoke of the girl, in hushed tone.
Her time to stay varied, as she appeared daily, always alone.

One can only surmise, what all, curious onlookers had to say.
From the looks some cast, they seemed to wish she'd go away.


One day, fate intervened, as fate will do, on the path to walk.
As several neighbors gathered, one approached, needed to talk.

True, he had received a new job option, requiring he relocate.
False, he nodded toward the empty swing, intent to insinuate.

In an effort to keep up with the Jones, he put on a facade.
The others did not take in stride, or see through his fraud.

He made it official the following week, house on the market.
Within weeks, similar signs cluttered yards, like a blanket.


To everyone who played the real estate market, a big surprise,
As each house sold on the initial showings, very first tries.

With offers to assume mortgages "as is," owners sold cheap.
Most got out while the getting was good, took the same leap.

In time, all the houses sold went into rental service mode.
There was only one family unit left to hold onto their abode.

The renters came in a hurry, fine houses in an area perfect,
A full time maintenance firm in place, zero property neglect.


The new dwellers never noticed, (transients are just that way)
The girl in the swing, who was still found there every day.

They never judged or cast aspersion, even on a lark or whim.
She had every right to be where she was. It was fine by them.

None of them knew, she was their landlord, did not presume.
There was nothing about her that gave them cause for gloom.

At first sign of spring, the first barbecue, she was invited.
She respectfully declined, but took note, she was not slighted.


When they left her, she could not resist a turn and smile.
She thought aloud, saying, "I might join them in a while."

She was brought back into the present, by a gentle voice.
A little girl of nine to ten before her, spoke by choice.

She and her mother were the only home owners to not leave.
The mother scolded the child, and was told, no need to grieve.

The youngster spoke boldly, when apparent opportunity arose,
As the girl in the swing gave her the floor, in full repose.


"I was just wondering, if sometime I might sit in your seat."
Hearing this, the mother cringed, wanting to take to the street.

She arose from her throne, with a natural glow on her face,
And hoisted the child, spun and put her secure, in her place.

Speaking in mock admonishing tone, said to hold on tight,
As she got behind, and gave it a push, with all her might.

To the mother, she offered, "Don't feel I've been taken to task.
For so long have I waited... She is the first to ever ask."


Michael Todd  (2015)

87 comments:

  1. I used to love the swings when I was a kid. It's such a natural part of childhood. A shame this girl waited so many years to push someone on her swing. Sometimes, people perceive things in a different way than the simple truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a shame, Lisa, but in my imaginative world, it was well worth the wait. Thanks for visiting. How are things in California?

      Oh, and... Nice FRISTING !!!

      Delete
    2. The weather has been nice, it's like spring here :) The only thing that makes me happier than spring, is summer lol!

      Delete
    3. Temperatures in the sixties here today. Tomorrow we have an ice storm forecast, with temps plummeting into single digits... It is like living in Canada, I tell you.

      Delete
    4. That can't be so bad. I hear there are beautiful roses in Canada ;)

      Delete
    5. Yes... They grow wild, on the plains...

      Delete
  2. This gave a warm chill, if you get my meaning. Only a child could see what another child sees. The ending...perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dave... It took me weeks to figure out how to tie this story up. I am really glad I waited. The only acceptable ending was right in front of me, all along. I just could not see it. Then, I did.

      Delete
  3. What a sweet sad story...
    This is our world, everyone passing by quickly with
    no intention to know their neighbor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use to think that was just life in the big city, Deanna, but it seems to have spread to all over. The Welcome Wagon just does not run like it used to.

      Delete
  4. Beautifully written! Brings to mind carefree summer days of swinging as a child... Aww who am I kidding, I still love to go on swings! I love the viewpoint and passage of time here. The ending is just brilliant, how wonderful for it to finally come full circle! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colleen... you just gave me cold chills, the happy kind, with your very kind overview of this piece. I could not hope for more. Thank you.

      Delete
  5. This is the perfect poem! It just warms the heart. :) I think that once a lover-of swings...always a lover-of swings.

    Irene

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Irene... Your words warm my heart. :)

      Delete
  6. Your story is quite awesome, Myke and the end is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for coming by, and your kind response, Alba Leigh.

      Delete
  7. What a wonderful work Myke... and yes a poignant and wonderful closing to this piece that holds many layers....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks bunches, Katherine. The story is tiered, and but closure serves it well, I think. I was fortunate it came to me as it did.

      Delete
  8. Makes me think when the time was...the time I lost my simplicity of sharp perception childhood had, and how many years it took to steal some of it back.

    Well done, Myke :)

    -slj

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand, Stephen... The further I go back, the more clear things become to me. Thanks for visiting, Brother.

      Delete
  9. Love it! I have a swing, myself. It's a nice place for peaceful pondering. I have only shared it with my grandkids!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandra... you just made me realize, we do not have a tree swing here...
      Now it is my Spring goal to by one and install it for my family. I have grand kids that would love it, and it is more safe than the trampoline we have looming in the yard. :)

      Delete
  10. "The Girl in the Swing" is a poem filled with imagery and thought provoking at the same time.

    Well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Michael. Your overview is humbling, Sir.

      Delete
  11. There's something a bit eerie about this - the lone girl in the swing. For a minute I thought she might be a ghost. I would love to have a big porch with a swing on it. Harkens back to an earlier time, Another fascinating poem, Michael. Kudos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She is far from a ghost, Debbie. She is real, and she is an image from an artist's rendering, and she is someone else entirely, and most of all, she is my best friend, in every sense of the word.

      Thanks so much for taking time to visit. Stay warm up there in True North Country, and hug the puppies for me.

      Delete
  12. The moral in this is a lesson for all of us when we think of prejudice, of enterprise and loneliness . It portrays each in the most charming presentation..Everyone remembers when they had a swing or still have. The time spent swinging up, up into the air and back again to view the world around us. And we all in some form or another have been slighted. Rejoiced when we saw the slighter be bested. And those feelings of loneliness and wanting to share.
    The joy when someone cares and joins you..This was such a wonderful poem Myke
    Stormy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You pretty much just took my breath away, with your in depth analysis here, Stormy Gail... I was so hoping to get your thoughts on this, and you did not disappoint. I think you get the story, even more so than the writer. Seriously, you brought out angles I had not actively dwelt on, as I was putting this together... Now, I get to go back and read it from your perspective. I am pretty happy about that, you know. I really am.

      Thank you so very much... Myke

      Delete
  13. I left a nifty comment and as usual it deleted it before it posted, even though I was already signed in. bummer.....in any case this is a great piece on many levels and I wish I could remember what I wrote the first time. Well done Mr Myke

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand, Stephy... This happens to me quite often... But, I am glad to hear from you and that you enjoyed our poem. Thanks bunches for coming by.

      Delete
  14. I really enjoyed this Michael including how you closed in the final two lines! This seems so fitting as a screenplay script.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don, if anyone wants to tackle this as a screen play, I will be a more than willing accomplice... Thanks so much for coming by.

      Delete
  15. Lovely and poignant. Does anything speak so directly to childhood as a swing? Well done and great ending!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Deidre... I believe you are onto something about the swing representing childhood, in its best facets... Glad you stopped by. :)

      Delete
  16. As I read this Big Yellow Taxi was playing in my head by that great lyricist Joni Mitchell..."they paved paradise and put up a parking lot" ain't it the truth, and I so admire that you have discipline to actually write a sonnet, Michael, I lost that discipline so long ago, love ya like a brother!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Chuck... I would rather stay within the confines of a sonnet, but from time to time, I have to break out, into mini-epic mode... Now you have that song stuck in my head! It is okay. I really like Joni Mitchell.

      Delete
  17. Michael, what a captivating, bittersweet piece and wonderful poetic story. My eyes were glued and I'm not lying. I could see something of myself in the "original" girl on the swing. I've a feeling her sharing of the swing will be a turning point in her life. You left me wanting more. xo Eliza

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic, how you could see yourself in this character, Eliza Anne... That just makes me all kinds of happy. Thank you. :)

      Delete
  18. Replies
    1. Thanks, Morgan... Lovely to see you in my house.

      Delete
  19. Love this! I think it's every person's desire to have someone else show interest in the thing you love. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed it is, Joleene. I can definitely relate to this... Thanks for stopping by. :)

      Delete
  20. A great narrative poem, Michael. I’ll be sharing this with my writing students this week or next.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Debra... Feel free to share this, as needed, and I appreciate that.

      Delete
  21. Fantastic write Michael....you pulled it together so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Linda Kay... So glad you enjoyed this.

      Delete
  22. This has a Rod Serling quality to it. The little girl symbolizing innocence lost and the neighbors not being able to handle the loss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Christopher, I can so do that Rod Serling voice... I always enjoy your takes on poems and such. Your perspective is fantastic.

      Delete
  23. I loved my swing when I was a young girl. Sad that the original neighbors didn't attempt to befriend her. Sometimes we need to take our cues from the young ones. Enjoyed your story Myke :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never had a swing, Laura. I did not even have access to one. I guess I just missed out. But, if I had to watch someone else ride one daily, I would most likely have become interested, and tried to find a way to give it a test ride.

      Thanks for coming over. Nice to see you, as always.

      Delete
  24. I don't remember a particular swing, just a sense of freedom to muse, to be, to settle within myself. Such a lovely sense of self you gift back to me here. thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anna, I said in a previous reply that I never had a tree swing. I had not thought about that when writing this poem. But, after reading your insightful comment, I was reminded about a porch swing at my grand parents' house. That was my special place.

      Wonderful to see you here. :)

      Delete
  25. Hi Myke...who doesn't like a happy ending? or swings? I stop by but don't usually comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We believe in happy endings, for sure, Carol... Very nice to see you here.

      Delete
  26. Dear Michael,

    This poem flows so naturally. Sad that so many people want bigger and better, leaving behind the memories--sometimes a simpler life--to race to the top. I'm grateful for my simple abode, for family and friends. Hope one day the girl does join with her neighbors. Thought-provoking poem.

    Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, Karen... Some sad aspects here, but I am going with, everything worked out for the best, at the close of day. I am on a happy tangent. :)

      Delete
  27. What a great piece, Michael! I like Don MacIver's idea too!

    e

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Eric... I find Don't idea quite appealing, too!

      Delete
  28. I have pictures of me and my cousins on both of my grandparents' swings. Great memories. You should put all your stories in a book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet those pictures are priceless, Wynne. You will have to show them to me soon... As for the book idea, all of a sudden I like that. Let's talk about it.

      Delete
  29. WOW mike. Im kinda in awe here. What a terrific story you tell. The swinging girl who is a permanent fixture
    in amongst change all around her,
    and I really enjoyed that twist in the end... what a brilliant concept.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The entire world revolves around each of us, at times, Teresa... just not the times we are expecting that to occur... Glad you enjoyed the ending.

      Delete
  30. Loved swings so much growing up that I'd imagine myself swinging back and forth before going to sleep - more fun than counting sheep! (Always worked, fell asleep quickly.) Wonderful concept - beautifully written!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lana, that is a great idea for relaxing to the point of slumber. I must share that with the grand kids at an opportune time.

      Thanks bunches for coming to call. I love that you did. :)

      Delete
  31. Such a sad little world for a lonely little girl.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A part of it was, Barb. No doubt about it. But, I think, when it is all said and done, the good times will outweigh the bad.

      Delete
  32. I love the simplicity and the depth of this poem, Michael. In some sense we're all in our little worlds waiting for someone to recognize what we need! The girl in the swing will stay with me through today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yours is a wonderful, positive overview, Corinne, but isn't that just like you to see? I appreciate that about you... And, I have no doubts, the girl in the swing will stay with me for all my days. I sure hope so. :)

      Delete
  33. You mentioned coulee and I thought of our friend in Medicine Hat... Such a lovely poem, brings memories of growing up. -Dave Raider

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to know we are on the same wave length, Dave. It is a good path to follow. Glad this resonates with you, Sir.

      Delete
  34. Replies
    1. Very kind of you to say, Barbi-Kay. Thanks!

      Delete
  35. Sadly, the cynic in me was the first to read, so I was waiting, or rather expecting, something more than the telling. Her adviser, her intent, no one the wiser ... and then the man who wanted to sell ... which says much about me - expecting something sinister. Even though I am very much aware of it (Do you remember my poem 'Disease'?) , I can't seem to help it.

    Also, I just bought a home (well, about a year now) and having to struggle through the whole ordeal - the shady feelings, the obvious lies and those that do not readily present themselves - The largest purchase you will every make and one that you have no real control over. You have to trust and hope that all parties will be honorable (your realtor, the bank, the seller) - perhaps this colored my perceptions a bit - striking a nerve, so to speak.

    Upon my second reading, with a more receptive mind, I see thoughts and observations, mirrored. The passage of time - The world is constantly changing, and we cannot help but be changed ourselves - whatever those changes might be. We all see our surroundings differently, which makes us feel alone and as if we are the only REAL people in the scene around around us. Day players to our saga.

    I am still amazed and in awe, when I am surprised. Unlike 'normal' people, I am truly elated when I am proven wrong. I think you know what I mean.

    So here is to the ever changing world in which we live in (wink)

    Oh, and nicely done my friend ... for proving me wrong :o)
    xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Home buying and building are traumatic experiences, for sure. I was fortunate in both cases, to have people I trusted, handling all my affairs... For me, the end all frustrations have come with automobiles... Not nearly as big an expenditure, but still, one that can linger.

      Thanks for all you said here, Shauna. I tell you, I could hear your voice in every word. And, I have to say, congratulations on your new house. :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks hon - it's a work in progress ;0)

      Delete
  36. Lovely. It brought me back to my own swinging days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet those were the best of times, Kathy.
      Thanks so much for visiting. You made my day.

      Delete
  37. Interesting how this poem swayed in a way I didn't expect to at all! ;) Well written: enjoyed reading the journey of the swing. :) <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Elly. You have made my day, you have.

      Delete
  38. Lovely from beginning to end. It has that homey feeling of sharing and caring. Beautifully written from start to finish. XXX

    --Leta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is really good to know, Leta... I never wanted to lose the feel of it taking place in a neighborhood typical... This was is as North American as apple pie.

      Thanks so much for taking time to read and share your thoughts.

      Delete
  39. This poem reminds me of the time I sat on the floor at my bedroom window, and blew bubbles out into the cherry blossom snow. I know you have heard this story. I never did understand how people waling by never looked up to see where they were coming from. Your poem made me a little sad and very happy at the same time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your story often comes to mind, at bubble blowing time, with the grands. I know I am doing it right when the bubbles smile back at me.

      Delete
  40. Replies
    1. Hey, just a part of the process. My biggest concern is an auto correct moment that I overlook, but everyone else witnesses.

      Delete