The Young


The Young

How the young curl into themselves
like ferns in early spring,
hard-wired to hold their still-gyred beings,
clasp encircled
by own surfaces,
until, time, as it surely will,
fiddles with heads and bodies–

and, truly, how wondrous is
the unwinding–
fronds loosening like the skin limbs stretch
to encompass,
spores gloriously exposed (if, only
on the undersides),
leaves teething
to get a better bite
of sun
and rainfall–

Terrifying, though, when winds spin
their expanse, when cold
and they can’t coil back
to those clutched self-centers–


Here’s a sort of poem, written under the influence of Karin Boye, a Swedish poet, who is the subject of a prompt by Bjorn Rydberg  on With Real Toads.

A couple of process notes–the picture (mine) is of fiddlehead ferns–those are the ones I had in mind, which have that name in the U.S. due to the spiraled shape in early spring.  Also, one word that troubles me is “clasp” in the first stanza that had been  “small fists,” but small fists seemed to sort limit the poem to infants.  If anyone has any thoughts on these words, I’m happy to hear them.

Explore posts in the same categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

24 Comments on “The Young”

  1. Helen Says:

    One of your finest ‘sort of’ poems ~ ever!!

  2. Those ferns are even more hesitant than the breaking buds.. Maybe even more like a human being.. But yet it comes the day when they stretch and grow…

  3. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    What a beautiful metaphor! I love the tight spirals of fern fronds and your exposition is just perfect.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Kerry. I was going to add as a process note that the ferns are called “fiddlehead” ferns here, because of the round spire when they are young. K.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Also, Kerry–I’ve been thinking a lot about a poem for your superstition/science prompt–I don’t know–haven’t gotten there–but will try. k.

      On Sun, Sep 21, 2014 at 12:59 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  4. They can never coil back, can they? And we, parents, suffer from it. What a beautiful poem. 🙂

    Greetings from London.

  5. hedgewitch Says:

    This poem begins with a whiff of Eliot, to me, and then breaks away into your own particular lilt. Once again you find the epitome of metaphors, and follow it through gracefully and completely to those rueful lines from an older, compassionate voice.Really excellent writing, k–(and I think ‘clasp’ does suit the purpose a bit better–for one , you already have the image of fiddle *heads* which may be enough of a reference to body parts in plants, and also, of course, for the reason you stated.)

  6. Grace Says:

    I look forward to those unwinding, to get a better bite to the sun and rainfall ~ Yet its all a perilous journey, sometimes too early means death in cold spring ~

  7. Marian Says:

    time does fiddle!

  8. ds Says:

    Nothing “sort of” about this…Those winds are terrifying, but we have to let our fiddleheads unfurl as they will, don’t we. Beautiful work; thank you.

  9. Jim Says:

    More little creatures ‘parked’ by their mothers? Mother elk park their babies while they forage for food and water to sustain a milk supply.

    “clasp encircled by own surfaces”? I might say “clasp ‘entwined’ by (their) own surfaces” but here also perhaps down and personal by mentioning a body part, hands, arms, skin, or such instead of the word ‘surfaces’. But I duno; or ditto on exactly how it all works.

  10. ZQ Says:

    That was clearly awesome!

  11. mhwarren Says:

    This is such a perfect description/image of the unfolding of adolescence made all the more wondrous by the metaphor. I thought of my grandson who’s still in the curled into himself phase but about to unfurl. I love this.

  12. seasideauthor Says:

    I read this great metaphor with the fern about young people and how similar the two can be with young people always on their electronics & other surfaces But not totally involved with reality as though they are still in school or very young. Then into adulthood.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. That is so interesting– I was thinking of hard-wired in the genetic sense, but I can see it that way too–thanks! k

      On Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 7:40 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  13. grapeling Says:

    k, you’ve elaborated and detailed the conceit beautifully ~

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. It was so odd, as I was thinking a long time about a different poem, still not done at all, and then this one came—but reading Karin Boye’s work was very interesting to me–we don’t–I don’t–get as much time to read as I might with all the rest of it, and it is a real problem in trying to write. Thanks again for your support and inspiration. k.

I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: