This poem was the next one written after Camille Claudel, and the thematic connections are clear enough. I was reading books like The Beauty Myth as my daughter approached her third birthday, and contemplating her place in this… well, Marilyn French’s phrase still rings true – it’s a rape culture.

I pulled my daughter from the public school system after Grade 5 and she was home-schooled thereafter, for which I’m thankful every day.

Surface Tension

Pigeons dip, sparrows soar, gulls debate
All circling, laughing like children
Bushy tails treasure hunt
Leafy tightrope sprinters
Balloons breeze lazily by
on a penny whistle trill
I, dervish! – carousel park spins through space
Young pagans play with beloved Earth

Janina laughing
stakes out territory to romp
pointing – Go!
I must leave her personal space
but not her sight – a Daddy buoy
distant enough to let her build
a head of steam
barrelling up for a hug

She wrestles the swing
Dodges Jungle Jim’s limbs
Scales the slide the fun way
Sandy wind offerings
drift through dusted hands
Laughing imperial voice, full lungs
scream her delight
Loving playmates and solitude by turns

No dreams of commodity
Born to be – not for selling
A living girl, not a cover girl
No painted model

No life for her on the scalpel’s edge
in this Age of No Aging
No starving for status
She knows love for being –
see her!