Wheel of sorrow, centerless.
Voices, sad without cause,
slope upward, expiring on grave summits.
Mournfulness of muddy playgrounds,
raw smell of rubbers and wrapped lunches
when little girls stand in a circle singing
of windows and of lovers.
Hearing them, no one could tell
why they sing sadly, but there is in their voices
the pathos of all handed-down garments
hanging loosely on small bodies.
Mary Barnard, “Playroom” from Collected Poems (Portland: Breitenbush, 1979). Used by permission of the Estate of Mary Barnard.
Source: The Collected Poems of Mary Barnard