Poetry Project — September 2017

Last month I missed our Poetry Sisters prompt because I was out in the wilderness.
Which, honestly, WAS poetry.
But, I’ve never missed one of our prompts before and I aim to make it up someday.

Here’s a picture of where I was in August so you can see that it was, indeed, an excused absence:

In the meantime, Sara Lewis Holmes was in charge of September’s assignment.
She offered up an image — this photo of inspirational rocks at the Highlights Foundation.
It’s a lovely image (the broken wish rock notwithstanding) so neither Sara nor Highlights nor the rocks will be blamed for the ensuing darkness! Sometimes a poem leads you down a garden path. Othertimes, well….

Oh, and it’s a pantoum, by the way. One of my favorite forms…

Your Mother is Afraid
By Liz Garton Scanlon

When she says be careful
what you wish for
she means make yourself small,
she means snuff out your own flame.

What you wish for –
it’s dangerous and bright as gold
she means, snuff out your own flame
she says, and cover your eyes.

It’s dangerous and bright as gold.
Shhh, be quiet and sit down
she says, and cover your eyes.
But you don’t. You see what she means.

Shhh, be quiet and sit down
(she means make yourself small).
But you don’t. You see what she means
when she says be careful.

Go see the other poems here:

And Poetry Friday is being hosted here, at Kat’s Whiskers!

Posted on 09/01/2017 05:00 am


  1. This is chillingly beautiful and true, Liz—and brilliantly paced by the pantoum form. (why then do I think it could be the start of a novel??)


  2. Liz, this is so beautiful, the way you have created the whole story in the relationship between mother – daughter. Or that is what I hear, anyway! LOL Sara is correct, it is the start of a novel…


    • I don’t know where it came from, exactly. That’s what I love about form sometimes — how it takes you down a path you didn’t know you were on.


  3. I have about sixteen ideas of what could be both bright and dangerous. Clearly, this story contains magic and myth and womanhood and warnings; journeys within, dangers without. It has all the best elements of an adventure, a quest, a heroine’s journey.

    Someday… someday…


  4. Oh, Liz, this is beautiful. In a horrible way. On first read, I immediately thought of Mommy Dearest. And then I thought well maybe there’s a better spin on it. Like just the worry that we have for our kids. But I have a feeling it’s really closer to Mommy Dearest. Going back for another read now. Thanks for this delightfully chilling poem!


  5. And, although we missed you last month, that is definitely an excused absence. Gorgeous!


  6. Liz, I am loving all the formal experiments that this photo inspired, which I think arise from the *concreteness* of the words on rocks, and how yours glides deceptively and dangerously just above its dark path is gorgeous.


  7. I’m assuming a daughter as well, and I love her for bravely disregarding her mother’s advice and looking full on at the awful truth of the world. I imagine her next move will be to go out and right wrongs…in the novel you will soon be writing!!! (hint hint wink wink)


  8. Kay Jernigan McGriff

    Beautiful. I have to agree that it presents a story begging to be told.


  9. “Chillingly beautiful” is right. A story that aches to be told.


  10. A form directs us on a journey we may never have taken, what will come out of that path if we choose to continue it, I’d like to see–The layering in your poem weaves in and out and keeps one moving, thanks!


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