Across the Bridge (the day before giving birth)

Across the Bridge (the day before giving birth)


I walked and walked the whole day through to give
my baby the idea that Brooklyn
was pretty nice, a place she’d like to live.

Even with the fear of bladder buckling,
I crossed the Williamsburg–quite a feat–
no baby was I.  Still, dear Brooklyn,

I whispered, at the water’s wished retreat
(as belly nosed its way to other shore.)
Yes, crossed the Williamsburg on swollen feet,

but baby still stuck fast; she needed more
than just the span of river crossed to coax
her belly to nose its way to other shore–

So, sure, I told her, we would be good folks,
and promised too all I could of this side’s world–
spans that were just, rivers not too cross to coax–

for I so wanted to know you, little girl,
I walked and walked the whole day through to give
a promise I could not make–that this my world
was pretty nice, a place you’d like to live.



Here’s kind of a weird poem–a terzanelle, which is combination terza rima and villanelle (meaning that it has interlocking rhymes and lines)  written for Kerry O’Connor’s prompt on With Real Toads. Check out Kerry’s prompt and her own poem for a much better explanation and version of the form. 

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17 Comments on “Across the Bridge (the day before giving birth)”

  1. brian miller Says:

    i wonder did you convince her?
    did you convince yourself?

    i will walk that bridge with my boys the last week of july…we will be vacationing in PA but plan on spending at least one day in the city…will be hte first time my boys have been there.

  2. I really love the end result here, Karin. For some reason it reminds me a bit of St Vincent Millay’s Recuerdo – in the idea of crossing water perhaps. I loved the way you changed up your repeating lines, in word order and punctuation, which kept things freshly turned (so to speak). In all, a really superb poem.

  3. coalblack Says:

    What a sweet and loving poem with just the right balance of uncertainty and hope,

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    This is so real and human, k. I think you hit on the notion of what we all feel approaching parenthood, that new things, good things are possible, indeed necessary, and that we must somehow make them happen. I am impressed with your rhyme-weaving, too. A great job with the form.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks–this kind of a strange poem–I was much more involved with the one the day before, but I am always up for a challenge, and the villanelle used to be one of my favorite forms, so I thought I had to at least try it, and it probably is more successful than the other. Strange how that works– forms are probably good for me as they tend to find their own meanings, and I don’t have to try to come up with something. k.

  5. janehewey Says:

    i love this, karin. as belly nosed its way to other shore. the idea of bladder filling as you walk, the water you cross, along with the implied amnionic sac– coaxing that wee one from one watery place to another. really enjoyable to read as I remember those pregnant moments, so full of promise…and water ( which is life, really)

  6. This gave me a big smile and then a chill. I was right there with you walking.

  7. vandana Says:

    Nice one, I too had tried this form and its a good form:)

  8. grapeling Says:

    form, really? superb ~

  9. Sherry Marr Says:

    I LOVE this poem!!!!!! So beautiful, the young mom coaxing her daughter forth. I especially love “she needed more
    than just the span of river crossed to coax
    her belly to nose its way to other shore–” Wonderful and very moving to read.

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