Amaya at dVerse gave us an interesting challenge tonight—to select two quotes, each from a different book, and use them as the first and final lines of a poem— in other words ‘bridge the gap’.

there, from spitting on the sidewalk

to chewing gum in class

from picking peas off her plate

to treading on the parlour carpet

from cycling down to the creek

to sassing her superiors

loomed a forbidden world

once alive with wonder

now a flattened minefield—

she felt crushed

as a gleaming metal sheet being

forced into a furnace


©️2018 Ontheland

Our choice of quotes could be intentional or random. I took the random route and used lines from page 111 of each book.

The first quote is: “there, from spitting on the sidewalk to chewing gum in class” from Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson.

The final line of the poem is derived from “the way a sheet of metal might be forced into a furnace”, found in The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert.

23 thoughts on “compression

  1. Wow! From two very obscure lines you’ve woven this terrific powerful poem. I scanned the first and last line first , I must admit, and wondered how you could possibly proceed! This is inspired and the last lines makes wonderful use of a metaphor to fall into the very last words.
    ‘she felt crushed

    as a gleaming metal sheet being

    forced into a furnace’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Annika….and the added plus is that my appetite has heightened for the second book, ‘the 6th extinction’ which has moved up in my reading pile to ‘next’. ( I am currently reading the first, a memoir about the writer’s temporary job driving a school bus that turned out to be unexpectedly rewarding).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think of the raw beauty of a child who has a delightful rebellious edge, a free spirit, who over time is refined into something not herself at all. But we don’t ever remember selling our souls. Were they stolen from us?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Your reflection ‘but we don’t ever remember selling our souls’ is thought provoking. There are a variety of ways that we evolve and emerge out of childhood rules, whether benign or squashing, but your comment reminds me of the thought I’ve had occasionally … who would I be if ….?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Janice, it is amazing what you created with only these two quotes as inspiration. You get this girl’s growing up time from not so well behaved .., cycling to the creek….being crushed . Fantastic metaphors.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely poem! I love how you show how we can take a rebellious trouble-maker child and mold her into a proper useful sparkling (dare I say it? – yes! I do dare!) gleaming member of society of which we can all take proper delight. I am sure she will now know all the right things to say and will never speak back to her superiors and will be just delightfully so perfect. All those nasty dangerous bicycle trips to the creek, they are just too dangerous, and not lady-like at all, and what will people think about a girl being so forward as to tread in the parlor?! The parlor is reserved only for pastors and deceased predecessors, what possible good could she be up to in there anyway?! So, well done, I am taking notes and will meet with my own children tomorrow. They will be so happy to know I have found so many things about their lives we can now change.
    (The above comment was brought to you by the intermittent need for irony part of Lona’s brain) 😉
    Seriously though… oh how I feel for this girl, I hope her earlier adventures will help her weather the crucible and push back against the compression. Vivid delightful and tender portraiture in this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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