Lola Ridge ( )


Cherry, cherry,
glowing on the hearth,
bright red cherry.
When you try to pick up cherry
Celias shriek
sticks in you like a pin.

When God throws hailstones
you cuddle in Celias shawl
and press your feet on her belly
high up like a stool.
When Celia makes umbrella of her hand.
Rain falls through
big pink spokes of her fingers.
When wind blows Celias gown up off her legs
she runs under pillars of the bank
great round pillars of the bank
have on white stockings too.

Celia says my father
will bring me a golden bowl.
When I think of my father
I cannot see him
for the big yellow bowl
like the moon with two handles
he carries in front of him.

Grandpa, grandpa
(Light all about you
ginger pouring out of green jars)
You dont believe he has gone away and left his great coat
so you pretend you see his face up in the ceiling.
When you clap your hands and cry, grandpa, grandpa, grandpa,
Celia crosses herself.

It isnt a dream.
It comes again and again.
You hear ivy crying on steeples
the flames havent caught yet
and images screaming
when they see red light on the lilies
on the stained glass window of St. Joseph.
The girl with the black eyes holds you tight,
and you run and run
past the wild, wild towers
and trees in the gardens tugging at their feet
and little frightened dolls
shut up in the shops
crying and crying because no one stops
you spin like a penny thrown out in the street.
Then the man clutches her by the hair.
He always clutches her by the hair.
His eyes stick out like spears.
You see her pulled-back face
and her black, black eyes
lit up by the glare.
Then everything goes out.
Please God, dont let me dream any more
of the girl with the black, black eyes.

Celias shadow rocks and rocks
and mamas eyes stare out of the pillow
as though she had gone away
and the night had come in her place
as it comes in empty rooms
you cant bear it
the night threshing about
and lashing its tail on its sides
as bold as a wolf that isnt afraid
and you scream at her face, that is white as a stone on a grave
and pull it around to the light,
till the night draws backward the night that walks alone
and goes away without end.
Mama says, I am cold, Betty, and shivers.
Celia tucks the quilt about her feet,
but I run for my little red cloak
because red is hot like fire.

I wish Celia
could see the sea climb up on the sky
and slide off again
Celia saying
Id beg the world with you.
Celia holding on to the cab
hands wrenched away
wind in the masts like Celia crying.
Celia never minded if you slapped her
when the comb made your hairs ache,
but though you rub your cheek against mamas hand
she has not said darling since.
Now I will slap her again.
I will bite her hand till it bleeds.

It is cool by the port hole.
The wet rags of the wind
flap in your face.

Lola Ridge's other poems:
  1. Broadway
  2. East River
  3. Flotsam
  4. Brooklyn Bridge
  5. The Fog

Poems of another poets with the same name ( ):

  • Alexander Pope ( ) Celia ("Celia, we know, is sixty-five")

     . Poem to print (Print)

    : 1169

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