Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nance Van Winckel in Agni




Photo by psd via flickr/CC





Thin Ice

I was walking on it,
the it I gave no thought to
and which my father got the gist of
and had to scold me about. It
was creaking. Newly hatched,
the jewel-toned fish swam
beneath: cold vault of readied
kisses. I went slowly on it--young lady--trying to be leaf-like,
to be zip, zero, zilch,
while the old man's voice
lifted--Who?!--from a shore
forty years off--just who do you think you are?

Agni 68 p. 189

The speaker in this poem seems to be a young girl--a young lady--on the verge of growing up. Puberty and the whole process of discovering one's sexuality can feel risky and even out of control. the speaker "was walking on it," the "thin ice" that she doesn't even notice, but her father--the adult who can see what's coming and is scared by it--reprimands her.

The "jewel-toned fish" swam in a "cold vault of readied kisses," illustrating the sensual adventures that await her but as yet remain cold and out-of-reach. That ice is thin, though, and creaking. It's ready to break, and the frightened "old man" father, unwilling yet to give up the child to puberty, asks "just who do you think you are?" It's as if he doesn't recognize her, as he begins to see the woman she will become. Even forty years later, his voice--the sound of his fear and anger and questioning--still rings in her mind.

14 comments:

s said...

"zip zero zilch"

this reminds me of how i tried to handle things as seamlessly as possible as i was growing up, attempting to reconcile household rules versus personal desires...avoiding the creaky wooden stairs, chatting quietly under the covers...general efforts to evade unwanted attention.

now i know, nothing's new under the sun. nor is anything new under parents' ever omniscient eyes...

The Blue Morpho said...

The line 'just who do you think you are' and the reference to 'scolding' make me think there is an undercurrent of disapproval. To me, it is not just that the dad is apprehensive of his daughter growing, but almost as if he has not given permission for it, and she is doing it against his advice, against his well. Like 'Who do you think you are to claim your own individual life, to take your own risks? That's for us, not you. What makes you think you can do it?"

S.Y. said...
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Dantem said...
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Smita Tewari said...

Lovely choice of words, the pic is so beautiful!

Cioara Andrei said...

Foarte interesant subiectul postat de tine. M-am uitat pe blogul tau si imi place ce am vazut.Cu siguranta am sa il mai vizitez.
O zi buna!

Cioara Andrei said...

Foarte interesant subiectul postat de tine. M-am uitat pe blogul tau si imi place ce am vazut.Cu siguranta am sa il mai vizitez.
O zi buna!

123 123 said...
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fading_smiles said...

beautiful (L)

Mark said...
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