St. Maudlin (La Folle)

This is the poem
of the woman she is;
twice I have run from it.

She tries to lose herself in things
to struggle out
and back here.

To hide herself, she has
taken a new name, but
it fits more closely than a lover.

I began this poem
for all the madwomen I know:
she is the only one.

The amazing distance:
all the years
she had travelled to come to this;
I meant to write in praise of it,
but the distance she has come to is
only the edge.

It is this thin edge that she
travels, where I don't know
on which side she has fallen;
whether she has fallen into herself,
or to madness, or if she has fallen
into the distance she's travelled--

Her body aches for one more man,
the right man.

I meant to learn to live alone,
to learn not to confuse
waking and sleeping (dreaming
of walking in white
through the green forest;
meeting a lover there).

Break her. Find her another end
than this.

Copyright © Neile Graham, 1983. All rights reserved.
Previously published in Seven Robins and The Malahat Review.

Sample poems

From Blood Memory

(at The Alsop Review): Story 1 § Sleeping With Lambs § Furious § The Basement Exit § Paper Rock Scissors Stone Water Air § Storyteller Talking At The End of Her Days § You Designed the Map § Ravenous § Tuppence in Pocket § Sheela-na-Gig § A Course in Sadness

(here onsite): The Skin of our Teeth § Woman at the Edge of the World

From Spells for Clear Vision

My Grandmother's Photograph § Washing at Sunset § Midfire § Hero at the Gates of Hell

From Seven Robins

Heart of Stone § November Arrives on the Coast § Seven Robins § Sky is that Moment § St. Maudlin (La Folle)

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