Jude Goodwin, Canadian Poet

Jude Goodwin

She uses the personal to translate the universal.

The Crying Girl

There's someone crying,
a girl in an open window.
Sunlight pulls at her hair. The girl
lifts one bare leg onto the sill,
then another. She holds the window frame
like a painting, steps forward
into the gallery of summer
where other girls sleep on the beach,
eat hard cheese and learn chords.
The major sevenths sound like doorways.
In her bag is a pair of bellbottoms.
In her ovaries,
an egg named Harmony.
The crying girl
sits in an idling Chevy,
listens to Elvis with reverb,
her arms are covered with spray-on velvet,
the windows are rolled up tight.
She was there last night,
I could hear her muffled mandolin
as I locked our slider
and carried the cat
upstairs to bed.

At the heart of this poem is a luminous kinaesthetic image. That crying girl carrying the window forward into the ‘gallery of summer’ lifts this poem onto another plane. It’s a movement out of the poem’s confines, into the open and future. Like the ‘egg named Harmony’ in her ovaries, it’s as if, at the core of the distress, there’s also the possibility for transformation. This powerful image, coupled with the synaesthetic language of ‘the major sevenths / sound like doorways,’ made me go back and reread the poem many times for sheer pleasure. I enjoyed this poet’s concentrated use of language and evocative image-making.

Judge Pascale Petit, February 2007

IBPC New Poetry Voices
Third, February 2007


Fishing boats on the beach

Fishing boats on the beach