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  • Margaret Fuller’s Recurring Dream, and: Comfort
  • Susan Blackwell Ramsey (bio)

Margaret Fuller’s Recurring Dream

July 18, 1850

Hurricane, sandbar, and the beach in view. She leans against the foremast in her nightgown— no dream you have so often should come true.

The captain’s disappeared, there is no crew.Each passenger turns away from her with a frown.Hurricane, sandbar, with the beach in view.

Her father died, her obligations grew, lead petticoats which tried to drag her down, the dreams at once symbolic and quite true.

But she kept them all afloat and managed, too, to win herself a name, some small renown. Then hurricane, shipwreck, this dawn beach in view.

She did escape to Italy, a new life, transcribed the fight against a crown. Dreams of freedom often don’t come true.

Her little boy, Nino, is only two. She can’t save him. It looks like half the town is scavenging the beach, no help in view. No dream. A dawn this awful must be true. [End Page 159]


When a friend is suffering we become those fathers on the wrong side of nursery glass tapping and waving to the oblivious,

proud if one of our efforts coincides with a grimace we choose to call a smile, frustrated by the separation, grateful

not to be inside. We are so awkward in the same room with suffering, rocking too slow, too fast, afraid we’ll hurt it somehow,

hoping for some old woman with dubious knees to take it from us, hoist it to her shoulder, sit with a grunt, begin her tuneless song.

Susan Blackwell Ramsey

Susan Blackwell Ramsey glories in Kalamazoo. Her book A Mind Like This (U of Nebraska P) won the 2011 Prairie Schooner Book Prize for Poetry and will be published in September.



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pp. 159-160
Launched on MUSE
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