Girl Swinging

By Judith Beveridge

A swing grinds on its chains.
A child sits pushing.
There’s no eucalyptus,
atlas pine, or flowering ash,

no other child is calling
from the tender modulations of leaves:
just each note
of her ringing heart,
the feeling of being pushed
into the air.

I often think about
the long process that loves
the sound we make.
It swings us until
we’ve got it by heart:
the music we are.
But sometimes I sense

the child’s life
twisted away from its
own mystery: the voice
struck, held back.

I long to be a symphony
levitated by grace-notes.

Quietly, I wait,
listening to myself
when, suddenly innocent of misery –
that feeling comes
of being lifted into the air:

that clear singing
above bare stones, above
the common rattle
of chains.

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