I haven’t taken any classes in writing poetry, so I’ve been experimenting on my own with different voices and styles, just to see what happens. While experimenting, I wrote this poem about Ophelia’s drowning in the voices of the servants who may have found her. I was also reading Charles Frazier’s Thirteen Moons at the time, so I intended to make the voice 19th century southern American.

Ophelia Found

 

We found Miss Ophelia

drowned in the river

sunup this morning

checking fish traps we was

drowned by her choices she was

            Happens with no mother to see to a young’un.

Yes.

 

Stones clutched in her hands

stones lading her bodice

that fine thin gown a-hers

binding up her legs

pale like a baby bird they was

tried to fly too soon

            Better she should’ve put a stone enwomb.

Yes.

 

Pulled her out from the water

laid her down soft on the bank

sent the boy to tell ma’am

whilst I made her clean as I could

carried her up to the house

            Cleaned up as much as you could I’m sure.

Yes.

 

We piled her stones in a little cairn

aside the river

stones she chose herself

to mark the place

moved the traps upstream

Did you tell ma’am about the stones?

No.

 

©Copyright 2009 Pat Edwards

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