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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Of Pocahontas, Bungee Jumping, and Motherhood

My daughter, Morgan, bungee jumps in Queenstown, New Zealand.


Kia Ora! (That’s a Maori greeting from New Zealand). My daughter, Morgan, returned yesterday from a Furman University Education Dept. May-mester foreign study trip. On their last day, she was first in line to bungee jump from the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown (the world’s first commercial bungee jump!).

Watching the video, I was amazed at how she leapt without hesitation, and with grace to boot! You see, she had said she would do a Pocahontas swan dive, and she did.

And with her halfway through college, and my son Seth a rising high school senior, I can’t help thinking about leaps from nests. (Echoes of last week: my preoccupation with nests continues with wrens just outside the back door, and a new little peeping occupant – probably a robin – high up in a camellia.)

Morgan and I always loved the movie, “Fly Away Home” (1996), about a 13-year-old girl sent to live with her sculptor father in Canada after the death of her mother. She ends up raising a motherless brood of Canada geese, and with her father’s knowledge of Ultralight planes, they lead the young geese on their first migration south, ensuring their survival. Inspired by a true story, there’s plenty of drama (and doses of humor) in this tale of growing up and of tricky family relationships. The movie also features one of my favorite songs of all time, “10,000 Miles," by the incredible Mary Chapin Carpenter. (If you haven’t heard it, grab a hanky and treat yourself . ("Fare thee well... .")

Thanks for indulging me in an original, personal poem this week.

Pocahontas

When I was little,
my grandparents gave me
a Pocahontas doll.
I loved her red dress,
her smooth coffee skin,
her jet black hair.

I didn’t know I’d grow up
to have a real little girl
obsessed with Pocahontas , the Disney version.

In a flash she was a big girl, teasing her beloved AP History teacher:
Can’t we watch the movie in class?
(No.)


I didn’t know this girl
would be so thirsty for the rush of air
that one day she’d leap
(held only by a cable)
40 meters down
from a bridge 10,000 miles away
in a perfect
Pocahontas
swan
dive.

Someday, I know,
she’ll leap from this nest.

I’ll dry my eyes,
smooth my feathers,
and sing to the wild, swirling world:

See that one there? Soaring with those iridescent wings?
She’s mine.


©Robyn Hood Black, all rights reserved

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