Doing Risky


Eat raw cookie dough for vanilla
butter salty sweet with a chip
of chocolate melting finish the way
I do…I know…I know the egg and
the salmonella…what the hell…
just do it.

My six-year self loved raw beef;
ate bright red hamburger with
my dad with lots of pepper salt
god…that was glorious…though
don’t relish it as much since he…
the missing is still fresh.

Mom and I lounged on a porch to
watch storms…great gashes of bright
lightning and chest thump thunder;
we’d ooh and aaw at strikes as if
they were fireworks.

And…oh they gave me freedom
to be dusty trail stream woodland
wilded fisher child talkative…curious
with gypsies gathering dandelions for
bitter tonic…in our pastureland with
me acres and acres away from home
me…their only child…my folks they
just did it.

I know…I know the dangers…and
they raised me their way…then;
damn-ed outcomes seem to hover
closer now for solo children…for
we’re used to expect danger…not
as much do risky…not to think weigh
teach caution  balance breathe and
then just…let…them…do it.

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by John Singer Sargent


14 thoughts on “Doing Risky

  1. Love, love, love this, Bonnie! I love the writing which reminds me of Dylan Thomas and I love the message. My 15 year old is just back from a camping trip with four friends. One of the dads took the boys out to an island and dropped them off. So good for them to have unsupervised freedom!

  2. Beautiful poem. My thoughts in reading were that we always take our parents with us, following us around in mind and emotion as when younger physically. It is funny what we remember that our parents may not think is a memorable moment. My kids remember moments that my mind must have deemed less significant to remember. Thank you for this poem.

  3. I remember those days, Bonnie, before Elf and Safety got in the way of fun! Imaginations could grow and nothing was forbidden, the cut and scrape part of our enjoyment and broken bones teach more than living in cotton wool.

  4. had similar experiences, so i can definitely relate. just a few years ago our granddaughter’s school outlawed tag at recess: too dangerous! that whole philosophy is just wrong. i love the Sargent painting, so different from his portraits of gorgeous women in satin. and, as usual, i enjoy looking at your craftsmanship, such as “dusty trail stream woodland wilded fisher child talkative…curious” to see how you were able to weave all of the words together in a pleasing way. i noticed that each one with two syllables or more begins with an accented syllable. did you do that purposely, or did you just go with what sounded good?

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