OSI: “intersections”

Elspeth is Leaving

At the foot of the drive she rubs the Redbone’s ears
One last time and looks back at the old farmhouse.


Now she’s standing where two roads intersect
In the middle of horse-drawn carriage country
With a packed up bag of books and belongings.
Waiting for a ride.

She’d toss up her bonnet to the sky, like
Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis, Minnesota
If she knew who that was, but
She’s never even seen a television set.
That was not allowed.

And now she’s leaving home.

It’s just before the dawn, when the cows are heavy
With the milk of ages and the laying hens are lifting up
To drop their fresh eggs into the warm straw below.
Mama will be stirring in her bed, rising with the day’s chores,
Rosters in her head – keeping everything on track,
Not before bowing that head and offering up her day
To the Good Lord.

Elspeth made up her mind way back,
When she was just a youngster.
Papa took them in the cart all the way to town,
They tied up the horse in the makeshift barn–
Raised in a parking lot.
Kids need shoes and cobblers are hard to come by
Even in the old world.

Brother was sporting a new black hat
And fancy suspenders.
Sister had on her favourite dress with the frills
And Papa’s boots were all shined up.

A fantasy world she beheld,
Full of lights and noise and smells.
Far cry from the quiet of the farm,
The hush of church on a Sunday.
She never forgot the thrill.

She told them all about her fancy plans.
Some cried, some scoffed and some had
A little bit of something like envy in their eyes–
For just a flash.

It was best to sneak out early
Before they noticed
She was gone…
Or she changed her mind.

Elspeth is leaving.
Leaving the old ways of an old world,
Crossing over at the intersection
Where ancient meets the apocalyptic.
Following a memory…
To a place that’s already a thousand times
Different than she recalls.

What’s waiting for her, only fifteen minutes
Down the road?
Only the Good Lord knows, but
When she crosses over, she knows
She can never come back.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009 Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


21 thoughts on “OSI: “intersections”

  1. THis is lovely-poignant and exciting. I love the part about the people who are envious of her for leaving-it is so hard to leave the familiar but it is always admirable.I did eat the cherry!


  2. Sarah – You caught me just before I caught a glaring problem with the structure of the first verse. I posted the corrected version right after you must have commented!I'm glad you ate the “heart”. Now I need to go buy some myself.Kat


  3. Elspeth may not realise wot she's getting herself into. Leaving the sheltered country life she's always known, for the untamed wilds of the metropolis. What will happen next? Oh pray continue, Kat!


  4. Great story, Kat. I liked the comparison to Mary Tyler Moore going to the big city. We have several Mennonite women who come into town to grocery shop. I've often wondered of the pressures and and how they might feel, or be shunned, on leaving the old ways.What inspired you?


  5. Ever see 'The Witness' with Harrison Ford? Not sure why, other than the obvious, that trotted across my mind.Great story, Kat. Gotta leave home before you can ever come back.


  6. I can relate to this poem on a very personal level. I was that girl. In a rare moment, she samples the tang of a new world. A dream is born and held close in a world comfortable with itself. The time comes. She honors her vision. Life will never be the same. You tell her story with such wonder and tenderness.


  7. This is a lovely poem of days gone by. I can relate to it throughout my life more than once. I remember graduating and not realizing my life would never be the same again. And then getting married, my life changed again, never to be the same again. And finally 11 years ago, when we sold the farm and moved 900 miles away, my life has never been the same as it was then. But, I must say it always gotten better. So all I can say is, don't ever be afraid of change, somehow it always gets better….


  8. I think I can identify with her a little; maybe I haven't had such a drastic change, but I know the difference between the quiet of that little farm and the busy, noisy city! =) Great poem!


  9. Kat – This is WONDERFUL! You have gotten into her head and showed us her heart. This is just amazingly well written. What a wonderful ability you have to inhabit your character.


  10. Kat,I somehow missed this when you posted it. It is truly lovely. I felt Elspeth's elation, her fear, her determination. Sorry to be late in responding – I really like this poem.


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