Splinter

Splinter

A Poem by Vanessa Whiteley

 
Walking past her old school she pauses
to catch her breath and notices a little
girl sitting on a large wooden box in
the deepest corner of the ribbed-roof

bicycle shed. The child is silent as
she picks at a splinter fraying apart
from the surrounding wood as if it
does not belong. Any moment now

a new girl will arrive and ask to play
stallions in the schools bare scrub of
wasteland. All that long summer grass
they will prance, neighing, scarves

transforming to reins, manes streaming
in a frenzy of equestrian abandon
as sunlight streams through enchanted
leaves transforming these moments

and sealing friendship for all the
eternity it takes for others to arrive
and say We don’t play with her.
The woman places her heavy bags

down. She wants to place her arms
around the little girl to comfort her
with lies. But she is half a century
too late and so walks on – alone.

 

© 2009 Vanessa Whiteley


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Brilliant writing. A scene that could be laid out into a short treatment for a movie or play. Opening shot close up of the girl the scene develops and progressively pulls out until we realize we are watching through a woman's eyes. We see the woman drawn, pulled, hesitating. An almost imperceptible move forward as if an impulse to save or help or give direction to the girl (herself as played by the girl, her youth if only...) but no...she too pulls back and continues to walk on alone as the shot continues to pull out and the characters grow smaller and more distant until they are lost to our sight.

We are left wondering how many thousand silent interactions are happening this instant. How many parents follow through and "save" their loved one from at least some of the mistakes they are destined to make.

Nice work.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

oh, my goodness, so many stories here and the converge masterfully at that one tiny point of reference--the splinter. . . this is wonderful writing. A favorite. I wonder why those other children don't play with her. I wonder what the old woman knows. There is so much more to this that we are left to puzzle over. The poem lasts much longer than the time it takes to read it.

Posted 15 Years Ago


It is wistful, recollective, but not overly sentimental-- indeed, the message delivered by the common run of the gaggle of girls is as short and sharp as a splinter itself. Evocative and effective piece of writing.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Brilliant writing. A scene that could be laid out into a short treatment for a movie or play. Opening shot close up of the girl the scene develops and progressively pulls out until we realize we are watching through a woman's eyes. We see the woman drawn, pulled, hesitating. An almost imperceptible move forward as if an impulse to save or help or give direction to the girl (herself as played by the girl, her youth if only...) but no...she too pulls back and continues to walk on alone as the shot continues to pull out and the characters grow smaller and more distant until they are lost to our sight.

We are left wondering how many thousand silent interactions are happening this instant. How many parents follow through and "save" their loved one from at least some of the mistakes they are destined to make.

Nice work.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I liked how you constructed this one, crossing times....and how you transport the reader into your thought process looking back at your life, a semi-melancholic tale full of layers... this was very good.

Posted 15 Years Ago


What it must be like to walk past a memory of yourself given flesh and bone. All of the lines are stunning. I think for me the poem really gatehrs momentum at the splinter, what a great comparison to the girl, alone not fitting in and yet at one and they are both entirely natural to their surroundings.

play
stallions in the schools bare scrub of
wasteland. All that long summer grass
they will prance, neighing, scarves

transforming to reins, manes streaming
in a frenzy of equestrian abandon
as sunlight streams through enchanted
leaves transforming these moments

and sealing friendship for all the
eternity it takes for others to arrive

That so imagistic. This is a beautiful poem, emotive indeed. And I can almost see the girl sitting there.

Posted 15 Years Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Now there's a piece of memory to fondle. I can almost see the school; at the end of Thomas Lane and the bicycle shed next to the out house. What belonging meant to one's self and how closely things could have been with that one I'll go my way child

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ok now, why wouldn't they play with her? That was the first thing that struck my mind. And why lies? Why should she comfort her with lies and of what sort?
Hmm... I don't know, something twitched inside my belly for a moment. I guess i might be the only one who thinks this poem's got some eerie air to it. By eerie i mean a bit strange feeling, but in a good way, not the creepy one. Like a trailer to some horror movie or as such...
Ok I did read it a few more times... and my point remains... Quite a special approach... stimulating indeed :)) Cheers.

Posted 15 Years Ago


2 of 3 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 15, 2009
Last Updated on May 15, 2009

Author

Vanessa Whiteley
Vanessa Whiteley

Bristol, England



About
Born in 1560 in Stratford-upon-Avon. I have a passion for writing but my parents wanted me to marry early. I ran away from home to see if I could make my fortune in London as my older brother had d.. more..

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