Arts & Leisure Poetry

Poet’s Corner: Thumbprints

Snow falls lightly

as if no fires rage

across the world.


Last night I dreamt

I lost the reins of a horse

in the dining room


of my childhood home.

It reared up, snorting and wild

among silver and fine china.


Even diamond rings

and rosary beads

belong to the earth.


Our thumbprint

is river’s whirl pool,

wind swirling snow across a field.


I listen for soul’s fog horn

as I traverse the riptide

between gratitude and despair.


My years are numbered.

Touch me – life is lived

in the moments a bird takes wing.


Marian Willmott is an artist and writer living in Vermont, enjoying both the solitude of the mountains and a vital artistic community. Her work has been published in Calyx, Salamander, the Denver Quarterly, The Worchester Review, The Louisville Review, Birmingham Arts Journal, and The Comstock Review, among other journals and in an anthology, Unbearable Uncertainty. One of her poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the Worchester Review in 2014. Turnings, a poetry chapbook, was published by Pudding House Publications in December 2007. “Still Life, Requiem and an Egg,” a poetry chapbook, was published by Prolific Press in 2018.




Images both unexpected and striking live in this poem by Marian Wilmot with its lines portraying light and dark, promise and despair, order and chaos. The snow falls gently while fires rage.  A horse rears up among the domesticity of china and silver in the dining room. The images are vivid and dynamic. It’s a poem that wakes you up.

There is much to startle us — in the poem and in life. And there is much that is soothing and familiar. Like the snow gently falling and the spiraling patterns that occur everywhere in nature: in wind patterns, in spirals of moving water, in fiddlehead ferns and shells, and our own fingerprints. These patterns hold meaning and order beyond what we see before us.

As the poem nears the closing, we have the image of one listening for a foghorn. Not one meant for ships, one meant for the soul. This familiar coastal sound is one we can hold onto as the speaker traverses that existential riptide she speaks of. We all have earth’s currents within us, some calm and navigable. Some less so.

We are touched by the earth every day and by the elements that swirl about us. We have her clay in us; we hold her song. So it is fitting the poem should end with what feels like song, and like the truest part of the poem. This place of embodied presence that recognizes the truth of things, both the bright and the bleak, but still moves toward the joy, the possibility, the music.

My years are numbered.

Touch me – life is lived

in the moments a bird takes wing.

Susan Jefts is a poet and editor from the Adirondacks and Vermont, whose poems have been published in numerous journals, most recently “Quiet Diamonds” by Orchard Street Press and “Poems in the Time of Covid” by Small Pond Press in Brattleboro. She runs workshops using poetry to deepen our experiences in nature, and of what we find sacred.

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