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A May Flower

July 7, 2008


Dorothy May Bradford drowned in Provincetown Harbor
while the Mayflower was at mooring, December 7, 1620.

In green-shot bays my sweetheart sleeps;
She pierced the shadow of the boat
And disappeared—still I must keep
My courage safe from fear she floats
With staring eyes into the deeps
Where liquid devils jeer and gloat.

Did sharp-fanged woods spur Dorothy
To drink up death? No way to gloss
Over trials, nowhere to flee…
Her heart could augur only loss.
Whoever thought the changing sea
Would alter crossing into cross?

We pilgrims in the wilderness
Must curb our fancy’s imps and ghosts—
A penitent, I here confess
To glimpsing her along the coast:
I meant to say, God’s peace and rest,
But words fall dead when wanted most.

by Marly Youmans

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  1. July 7, 2008 at 2:24 pm | #1

    Marly, this is wonderful. “…alter crossing into cross,” “imps and ghosts” and ” glimpsing… coast,” are terrific and your voice reading everything is perfect—as it should be, but, as I’ve said before, often isn’t.

  2. July 7, 2008 at 6:44 pm | #2

    Yes, wonderful.

  3. July 7, 2008 at 8:20 pm | #3

    Sounds just grand, and I love those “liquid devils”! Did you know we lived in P-town for two winters? Jeremy cut his first teeth there, among the artists and writers at the Work Center.

  4. July 8, 2008 at 11:18 am | #4

    A hauntingly wonderful poem, Marly, and so beautifully read!

  5. July 11, 2008 at 11:25 am | #5

    Thanks so much for pausing to leave a comment, you four, known and unknown!

    And yes, I did remember about Provincetown. An appropriate spot for beginnings…

    Other current-issue poems here:
    http://www.mezzocammin.com/iambic.php?vol=2008&iss=1&cat=poetry&page=youmans

  6. gail mc
    July 14, 2008 at 2:22 pm | #6

    Your words are enchanting. They evoke such wonderful images in my head.

  7. July 26, 2008 at 9:23 pm | #7

    ghosts and goblins! They were all terrified I’m sure. All those women crashing into the New World.
    I love the poem.

    Do you know more about her?

    M

  8. February 4, 2010 at 8:04 am | #8

    Kudos from one braniac to another. :)

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