winter is slowly peeling

her finest clothes off with a sigh

flowers will bend their tender heads

to warm breezes by and by

a winter anniversary–

i threw my heart off the high bridge

nearly three years ago

i laced it up in satin bows and when

the sun sank low

i took it from my pocket

i waved it at the town

i tossed that package overboard and

watched that baby drown

my heart is sailing smooth waters in heart heaven now


winter jumps to greet the spring

and breathes a gentle sigh

hyacinths will blossom soon

‘neath sunlight and blue sky

there’s nothing you can steal from me

ive no love left to take

theres no feeling left that you can harm

no heart left you can break

you send to me your letters

ones unopened in the hall

o youre a poet with no loss for words

still you say nothing at all

theres nothing you can steal from me

ive no love left to hide


the earth turns over in her sleep and moans a wintersigh

The Story: I wrote this in 1978 (and it was published in 1986) after dating a professor at the University of Minnesota. Nothing serious, he went on to teach at Berkeley and I never heard from him again. That is, until last fall, when I found him online and wrote to him. He wrote back and said he remembered me even though it’s been 30 years. The High Bridge is a real bridge over the Mississippi River, in St. Paul. The old High Bridge was like 75 years old and really scary. They have since replaced it. Every time I got depressed and thought I would kill myself, I’d walk on the bridge and think better.

I think I suffered from SAD even back then…

7 Responses

  1. Wow. That’s pretty deep. Not what I’m used to hearing from you these days.

  2. Yes, you probably did suffer from SAD then. Perhaps even undiagnosed depression (without the seasonal influence)?

    This is pretty. Yes, it’s dark, but it is very pretty. I used to write poems where I would be out of my body watching myself die or drown or otherwise suffer as I watched from afar. That was when I first got separated and probably for the first couple of years afterwards.

    That’s what this reminded me of.

  3. Pan, I love it! It is dark, but it also shows a strength I see throughout your writing.

  4. What I like about this is the idea that the narrator sends her heart away before the lover can break it. It’s a very powerful kind of self-negation.

  5. Thanks.

    I was pretty morose back in those days. While the professor thing wasn’t very serious, maybe I wished it would have been. But then in the back of my head, I thought it was a weird situation. He was as old as my dad.

    We all have control of our hearts. What we choose to do with them is our own business.

  6. You’ve presented me with a paradox. I don’t read poetry and I read you. You’ve written poetry. What to do? I read it. It seems quite direct and clear unlike what I normally think of poetry as being. I rather wish for just a moment that I wasn’t me so that I could unambiguously say that that’s a good sign.

  7. Well, ABS, I lost my book of poetry which this was in. The only way I recovered this was to look at it printed as it was published.

    One of my favorite poems from that time was about taking a trip. Not the kind where you get into the car and drive, the other kind.

    I didn’t write anything else back then. I can’t write a decent poem now. I think you need a lot of angst to do it successfully. I was full of angst back then.

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