“TEDDY BEARS ON THE HIGHWAY”

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Just thought I’d share a poem written by Hettie Jones, which appears in the book I’ve been reading:  Women of the Beat Generation.  Hettie, who was born in 1934, “made a choice to leave behind comfortable Long Island and the fifties’ ideal of a cookie-cutter marriage when she went to a women’s college…explored the creative arts, discovered jazz, and realized there was no turning back.”  Here is one of her poems (because of this double-spacing thing, I’ve used italics to indicate where there are breaks to a new stanza.)

TEDDY BEARS ON THE HIGHWAY

Saturday the stuffed bears were up again

over the Major Deegan

dancing in plastic along the bridge rail

under a sky half misty, half blue

and there were white clouds

blowing in from the west

which would have been enough

for one used to pleasure 

in small doses

But then later, at sunset

driving north, along the Saw Mill

in a high wind, with clouds big and drifting

above the road like animals

proud of their pink underbellies,

in a moment of intense light

I saw an Edward Hopper house,

at once so exquisitely light and dark

that I cried, all the way up Route 22

those uncontrollable tears

“as though the body were crying”

and so young women

here’s the dilemma

itself the solution:

I have always been at the same time

woman enough to be moved to tears

and man enough

to drive my car in any direction

 

 

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