The Girl on the Swing

The seat appears to be wooden,

maybe 4x4 oak.

No chance for it to split

over years of raucous  play or

empty sway in rain, snow,

or summer sun.

Secure with knotted ends

of thick gnarled rope,

the swing is strong enough

to withstand endless hours

of flight.


the tree’s brawny limb

is clearly in sync with

the resolute mood

of the breeze, defined

solely by the sing-song swaying

of the girl on the swing.


Her legs reach forward,

pushing into the air, toward me.

I see her buckled shoes and colored ankle socks.

The skirt of her dress is plaid,

fluttering against her knobby knees

that extend tight and sky ward.


Silently I beckon her to me.

Yet, her face, fresh in adolescence,

bathed in sparkled sunlight

and arbor shadows

points triumphantly upward

to where her future

connects to memory

and disappears like fading stardust

along generations of horizons.


The girl swinging, chestnut tendrils waving,

small hands gripping the rope,

needs only a push

to glide higher to her dreams,

to go up! up!

into her hopes, to be free

in a timeless now where

her spirit is liberated,

ageless at last,

beyond the gilded frame and polished glass

where the photograph, only,

is bound.


And I, her daughter,

seesawing not quite so courageously

toward my own eternity,

contemplate her flushed smile  

and find myself envious of my Mother’s

undaunted eagerness to fly.