Crossing Moon River

by cheri block


photo by r. sabraw


Wallflower, I.

Growing along the banks of the 7th-grade gym, having tentatively planted myself there for stability, with other flat-chested girls whose buds had not bloomed, whose stalks were thin and green, whose flowers were years away.

Waiting for an 8th-grade prince, that one clutching a voluptuous red rose and swaying with her as the clock ticked toward nine.

Awkward, I.

A seed packet waiting for a green house, we girls on the wall,  fertilized with Shalimar and hydrated with punch.

Unselected, we.

The last slow dance announced, we, feeling like weeds instead of the pink tulips we were to become, edged back into the darkness, like cattails in a dark lagoon.

Romantic song, it.

Moon River, by Andy Williams.


Our oaks








About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
This entry was posted in My childhood, My poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Crossing Moon River

  1. shoreacres says:

    The moon photo is fabulous. It reminds me of a certain night along the banks of the Atchafalaya. It wasn’t Andy-Williams-Romantic, but it was bayou-country-romantic, which is just as good.

    I loved the expression “fertilized with Shalimar.” It revivified my mother, who loved that scent until the very end. Me? It was Chanel #5 — as Santa well knew. The last time he visited our house on Christmas Eve, I was a freshman in college, and he brought my Chanel. I still have the black spray bottle, although it’s been refilled a few times.

    Even when I was slinking back into my own patch of weeds, I loved wearing it.

    • Cheri says:

      Maybe you ought to do a post on bayou-country-romantic. That phrase has piqued my curiosity.
      Seems that perfume is now “out.” More people complain of scents and more businesses ask for scent-free shopping. California is SO PC. I do admit to being rendered queasy, though, by some of the perfume that wafts by my in shopping malls.

      I wear Jadore but I still have an almost full bottle that my daughter gave me several years ago.

  2. Brig says:

    I remember that wall and a lot of others. 70 years is a long blooming stage…

    • Cheri says:

      Funny comment, Brig. And then there are those we know who bloomed, alright, bloomed and then faded like old parchment. Interesting those trajectories..

  3. Richard says:

    Wallflowers are hardy and strong, maturing to an array of beautiful colours and an intoxicating perfume that, for me, sadly, is but a memory.

    They belong to the cabbage family, my favourite vegetable.

    Why are these names so ill-used? My wife was once told I would turn her into a cabbage.

    I wrote this for her:

    Blushed and hanging to the tree,
    The sweetest peach
    For all to see.

    Not quite in reach?
    It holds in thrall?
    Be gentle, now, I do beseech.

    Touch briefly, then, or not at all.
    The fruit may be a little green,
    As yet not ripe enough to fall.

    Eyes only, please, upon this scene,
    Please wait, it’s hard, I know,
    Until the flesh is not so lean.

    For summer’s heat imparts a glow,
    With sweetened juice to overflow.

  4. Cheri says:

    I think you posted this lovely poem on your blog years ago. I remember the peach imagery. You are a wonderful poet, Richard. I don’t think I have ever received a love sonnet written directly to me in my life!
    Also, I did not know that a wallflower is part of the cabbage family.
    So much to learn in my late blooming years.

    • Richard says:

      The poem – I venture to call it that since you remember it and I thank you – was written as a backdrop to a photo taken by Glenys’s father when she was thirteen. You probably remember it because of the photo.

      I wrote it as a terza rima but I see now it has the fourteen lines of a sonnet including the final couplet. Some are, apparently, experimenting with the sonnet form, varying the meter, line length and rhyming scheme, so you were right to call it call it a sonnet.

      ababcdcdefefgg (Shakespearean sonnet)
      ababcbcdcdedee (The Peach)

  5. wkkortas says:

    Andy Williams has always been something of a cultural/personal touchstone–indeed, if I ask one of my brothers the question “Can I have a cookie?”, the answer is invariably “Not now. Not ever. Never!!! (this taken from Andy’s variety show, where a bear always asked the question.) I have always told myself that, when Claudine Longet shot Spider Sabich, “Happy Heart” was playing in the background.

    My pointless musings aside…this post so wonderfully captures that sweetly awkward and awful time period in all our lives, that middle-school muddle that we are all suitably misty about, yet ( I wager, anyway) that you could not pay enough to make us live through again. A standing ovation across the ether, dearest Cheri.

  6. Cheri says:

    Dear wk,
    What kind words coming from my favorite blogging poet. Your wonderful book sits on my coffee table and I gleefully tell all guests (including Dinah) that I KNOW the poet. Your words regarding this post are especially sweet. It’s my first poem on the blog. I am insecure about poetry so thank-you.

    I would not want to live through junior high again although it is from that period of my life where my richest memories come to the surface of memory.

    By the way, I am subscribed to your blog and should get all your posts on email. Have you not written recently?

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