Biographical Poetry posted May 31, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
Iambic pentameter blank verse.

Tree Climber

by Sis Cat

When I reflect upon myself, the boy
in processed silver nitrate, black-and-white
achieves his balance 'mid the blooming buds.
Forgotten memories invade my mind.

At play behind a beige suburban home,
my brother climbs the tree above my left.
He hides among the limbs like Robin Hood
while I perform for mother’s Kodak lens.

My rooted legs appear to branch like grafts
by stripes across my chest like bees abuzz.
My fingers grasped around a purple branch
as I invert a topsy-turvy world

Recall my father being far from home.
Recall my mother raising five alone.
Recall the Halloween when arsons burned
our porch and fear enveloped me like fire.

Forget it all?
                        Perhaps imagine spring
within this tree’s embrace as petals float
like flakes of snow dislodged from shaken limbs.
Imagine blossoms’ fragrant, rare perfume.

Imagine blooms forecasting summer plums.
Imagine chirping birds atop this tree.
Imagine sun and wind caressed your face.
Imagine balance beams and winning gold.

Forever free, forever young, the boy
within a black-and-white memento plays.
How often he appears apart from me.
Could he imagine I would climb this far?


Iambic pentameter blank verse--an unrhymed poem that is in meter. To locate stressed and unstressed syllables, I used:

silver nitrate--a compound used in making photographic film.

"the Halloween when arsons burned"--see "Stranger Danger" in author's portfolio.

balance beam--a gymnastics apparatus shaped as a long beam above the floor.

Photo by my mother, Jessie Lee Dawson-Wilson, circa 1975.

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