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Judith Castle

I push snow on the long walk
with an old shovel my ex forgot
to take with him when he left me
for a taller woman.
I hurry so medics can race to the house
from the road in case my son stops breathing
as he did one night
last winter.
Snow sticks to the blade of the shovel’s
jagged rim. If I were taller
I could tilt it over the towering bank
but I can’t reach that high.
I want to rest but if I stop now
I’ll see myself:
a short woman fastened to a ruined shovel
losing her way
to the road.

© by Judith Castle.
Used with the author’s permission.



Judith Castle’s poetry has appeared in Fiddlehead, The Event, Island Writer, Time of Singing, and The Antigonish Review, and in photography exhibits at Galerie Luz and Galerie Nota Bene. She lives in Victoria, B.C., and attends the weekly readings at Planet Earth Poetry, where she says she has learned that a poem is the shortest distance between two hearts.


Post New Comment:
What a gorgeous poem, Judith. It's good to be finding our way to the road this weekend!
Posted 03/16/2012 11:01 AM
I somehow understand from this poem that a person is continually oppressed by imagined insufficiency (tallness for example) and imagined anxiety (a dying son). This is excellently portrayed. If everything was perfect, we wouldn't push ourselves to new limits. Best wishes, Hilary
Posted 03/15/2012 11:16 AM
Fun. The details enrich the poem by working on several levels.
Posted 03/14/2012 03:39 PM
Donal Mahoney:
A fine poem that for more than a moment makes it very difficult to be a man.
Posted 03/14/2012 12:48 PM
Colonomos: Love how this poem expresses 'broken, we still carry on.'
Posted 03/14/2012 11:53 AM
For all of us who want to rest but can't stop now. The jagged rim on the blade of the shovel - a precise image of how the metal tears slightly on every push over ice and asphalt. Thanks, Judith.
Posted 03/14/2012 11:27 AM
wendy morton:
This fine, spare poem laced with sorrow and courage. This is not just another poem about snow.
Posted 03/14/2012 11:00 AM
Beautifully rendered, every detail working also as metaphor. And she makes me frantic for her son, who by virtue of the poem is also my son. Such a wonderful poet who can do this.
Posted 03/14/2012 10:04 AM
Wonderfully biting and triumphant all at the same time. Great poem!
Posted 03/14/2012 08:15 AM
I love the poem--poignant indeed! And I love the comment "a poem is the shortest distance between two hearts." I hope you don't mind if I share it.
Posted 03/14/2012 07:57 AM
Tyler Gabrysh:
Delightful work, Judith! A fine navigation of frankness and jocularity. I appreciated your reading of it at Planet Earth Poetry.
Posted 03/14/2012 03:14 AM

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