August 15, 2005

A Moment in Troy

This is one of my favorite poems. It reminds me very much of The Shieldmaiden's and my exploits when we were younger.

A Moment in Troy

Little girls--
skinny, resigned
to freckles that won't go away,

not turning any heads
as they walk across the eyelids of the world,

looking just like Mom or Dad,
and sincerely horrified by it--

in the middle of dinner,
in the middle of a book,
while studying the mirror,
may suddenly be taken off to Troy.

In the grand boudoir of a wink
they all turn into beautiful Helens.

They ascend the royal staircase
in the rustling silk of admiration.
They feel light. They all know,
that beauty equals rest,
that lips mold the speech's meaning,
and gestures sculpt themselves
in inspired nonchalance.

Their small faces
worth dismissing envoys for
extend proudly on necks
that merit countless sieges.

Those tall dark movie stars,
their girlfriend's older brothers,
the teacher from art class,
alas, they must all be slain.

Little girls
observe disaster
from a tower of smiles.

Little girls
wring their hands
in intoxicating mock despair.

Little girls
against a backdrop of destruction,
with flaming towns for tiaras,
in earrings of pandemic lamentation.

Pale and tearless.
Triumphant. Sated with the view.

Dreading only the inevitable
moment of return.

Little girls

--Wislawa Szymborska


Great Scot said...

I eagerly await the return of Roxanna and Margaretta to the Tower of Pisa.

Pipsqueak said...

Aw, lovely poem! :)

Lynn Bruce said...

Oh, Great Scot. ::sniff::

I do miss Margaretta and Roxanna. We had fun living with them, didn't we? Wonder where they've gone? Their closet is too full of shoes these days to make a good Leaning Tower, I suppose.

I especially enjoyed taking them to the grocery store in no less than 6 layers of dress-up, made all the more charming by the way they would sing to all the other shoppers. Remember how the old ladies just loved them? They'd push their carts around the corner of the aisle tense and distracted, and go away smiling.

Margaretta and Roxanna simply wanted everyone to be a cheerful as they were.

If I ever get to see that other Leaning Tower of Pisa (the one in Italy), I'm sure I will laugh and cry at the same time.

Leslie Noelani Laurio said...

What a great poem!

"Little girls
observe disaster
from a tower of smiles."

But I'm sure you could never be so heartless. :)

ithchick said...

Fa-so-la-la darling, in your months of searching to find a poem I would enjoy, you constantly failed. Not one poem could you find to suit my picky ways and add to my list of ten. But today, I am vanquished. I could actually love this poem, and I liked it at my first reading. Congratulations of accomplishing the impossible.

fa-so-la-la said...


Oh, I'm giddy....I've found a poem for Ithilien Princess!

foreverlastinglife said...

i love it!