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  4. Playroom by Mary Barnard

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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 (Breitenbush, 1979)
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