Wednesday, November 14, 2012



For my Daughter on Her 22nd Birthday

I stood on a bridge near Durham.  You, inside me, growing, and I so large, so hot, bent forward, elbows resting on cool stone.  In the middle of that span I realized my life would soon change. Looking down on the trickling Eno River, late summer of my 30th year, I was soothed.  And the water knew. 

I imagined every river journey that had brought me there—every boundary water paddle, every float down the Connecticut, every ride along the banks of the Ohio, with fiddle tunes playing and some sense of destiny humming underneath all those waters.

We followed the Kanawah North to where you were raised on mountain music, and suburban slang, took you to the woods often and once, you might have been 7, on a bridge beside a waterfall, you ran ahead, then stopped short, tempted to dash beyond to where we couldn’t see you, but you turned, at some half-way point, suspended between everything in front of you, and everything you could not yet leave behind. 

Today, I think of you, 22, on the bridge you walk from there…to here…to there.  And wonder what hums underneath your passage this fine morning.  I was your bridge once, from one world to the next, but you’ve been crossing your own for as long as I can remember.  In tiny red shoes.  Stilettos, and suede.  Boots for the journey and for standing still.

Listen to the waters running beneath you my child.  Follow the flow that carries you.  Be grateful for your strong legs, your arms, your sense of direction. Look back  at the love that served you, and bridge it forward.

Little Red Shoes   Jess Allen
Poem by Beth Lodge-Rigal   11/6/12



  1. It was so moving to hear you read this beautiful poem last week, and I am delighted to be able to read it again, and ponder.... MKP

  2. what a birthday gift