2021-2022, Poem

Her Wisdom Came Too Late

Featured in the 2021 Winter Issue of Rambunctious

A poem inspired by a passage from Tillie Olson’s short story named “I Stand Here Ironing.”

Her Wisdom Came Too Late
Vaishnavi Gornale, '24

She is a ghostly girl on a forgotten ship
A dreaming and vanished lady the gods once favored
She sees the waves, the boulders, and the promise of taunts
That she too was a promise once.

Locks of moss and death, once evergreen
Untouched, painless skin of fallen leaves
She was the daughter of marble ways and praise
She was creature, she was mortal, she was god.

He sees her now, he hears of then
Then, she needn’t jewels; her pride was enough
Now her face is never seen; are her eyes golden?
And yet, in the distant near, they still whisper her name.

She cries, he says, yet sheds no tears.
She flails, she drowns
In the depth of an ancient ocean
That isn’t hers.

She was creature, they say.
She was mortal, she was god.
The girl glides away, her lips still ashen, her eyes still hollow
The sea sings, ‘Her wisdom came too late.’