Scotchbroom

It’s great that the poet invites the reader to remember with her. It immediately forges and intimate connection between us and her. Kyle Austin, age 21

Remember how golden
they blazed, growing wildly
on the hill near our house,
the hill between our house
and the freeway. We pulled out

I love how something so beautiful can grow in such an unexpected place that is not normally thought of as somewhere that can contain beauty. Rachel McGuinness, age 18.

handfuls and carried them
home until Mother sneezed
and said to stop. We'd climb up

The imagery here is perfect, I can see the mother sneezing and wanting her children to stop bringing these plants into the house. Rachel McGuinness, age 18.

to the swamp after a long week
under the eyes of the nuns,

This line is beautiful in its simplicity and instills fear in those who know what it’s like to be watched by nuns. Rachel McGuinness, age 18
It does seem that nuns would be looking down on children-literally and metaphorically! They have a stereotypical strictness about them. Rachel Talen, age 21.

learning the pensmanship and
deportment of school, of life,
as the church bells tolled

I like how school is treated here as well as the church bells. Both seem as if they are interrupting childhood, preventing it from being innocent and free. Samantha Mikita, age 19

through our childhood. Frogs' eggs
floated in a mass, like periods
and commas in the muddy pages
of water. Carried home in a jar,
they never hatched out.
  

The imagery here is fantastic! The frogs’ eggs look like the things they learn in school but are themselves far more memorable and special to the poet than periods and commas learned in class. Kyle Austin, age 21
I love the comparison of frog eggs to school work both can be muddy and hard to understand and not everyone hatches the knowledge. Rachel McGuinness, age 18

Three years ago I drove back
to the spot where we picked
blackberries, where our dog
was struck by a car one year,
but not killed, where we passed
going home, carrying a chalice
of flowers or eggs, asking myself
how we all grew out of this.

This rings true—it is sometimes mind baffling to wonder how our
childhoods shape our adult lives. Kara Madden, age 22.
I find myself reading this last stanza again and again. The poet captures perfectly the questions one asks oneself, the emotions that flood one’s brain, when one visits a place from childhood which is so rich with memory and experience. Austin Kyle, age 21

And there were still golden petals
above a dusty green, bent as they
always were, from wind
and from rain.

I feel the ending is very comforting because the flowers were still there. Even though we grow up, we never lose who we were as children. Samantha Mikita, age 19
The flowers have experienced the same hardships in life as the speaker in the poem, each has weathered hardships as life continues without fail. Rachel McGuinness, age 18.

 

"Scotchbroom" appears with permission of the author; it was first published in She Walks Into the Sea, copyright 2009 Michigan State University Press.

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.