My first bra made me self-conscious,
all nipples and scratchiness,
much like wearing my first bikini
(never again!) or my first time
skating in hired boots; my first kiss,
trying not to crash teeth,
dribble saliva or miss target completely;
my first (and only) dinner party,
or meeting other parents and toddlers
when mine was having the mother
of all tantrums; when another
mother’s child spotted my first wrinkles,
or the first time I looked in a shop mirror
and thought is that really me?
I wonder if it’s the same for trees
when their buds are exposed
in spring’s first green shimmer,
or when autumn’s chlorophyll ebbs
and leafless bark is exposed in the glimmer
of fading sun through mist.

Kim M. Russell, 27th September, 2019

Image result for leafless trees in mist
Image found on Pinterest

My poem for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Weekend Mini Challenge: Maladroit, also linked to Poets United Poetry Pantry

I’m hosting the Mini Challenge this weekend with one of those words that I often come across when reading, words that I would love to use in a poem and which I write down for future reference. The word is ‘maladroit’, and it has been used by poets before, for example Charles Baudelaire and Rebecca Kingswell.

This weekend, we are writing new poems about clumsiness and awkwardness with the title ’Maladroit’.

68 thoughts on “Maladroit

  1. This is so relateable – I really felt those first lines, and then the switch to pondering nature works really well. The beginning was quite stressful, and then you took me to a calm place and reminded me that life is always gently moving on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this wonderful work, this challenging prompt, and for providing me something to work on (rainy) Saturday, while I’m recuperating on the couch following my (sunny) Friday deck-staining project, for which I am ill-equipped, ill-prepared, reluctant to begin, and fully convinced that my efforts will be seen to be, at best, maladroit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so poignant! ❤ I resonate with the feelings attached to wearing one’s first bra and “all nipples and scratchiness” that comes along with it. I swear I wanted to throw my bra away initially when I was getting used to it haha 😊 Beautifully rendered, Kim! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I liked the gentle tone of this. The tying it to trees going through their natural cycles is a lovely way to reassure the reader that awkward feelings are natural and to be expected at certain points, and eventually they too will pass.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a relatable poem. All of us women can certainly relate to that first bra! But I really love how you take it from the person to the universal when you go to nature. I don’t think trees ever feel awkward. They are always some comfortable where they are. I think we have a lot to learn from them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like this a lot, Kim. I relate to first times, I have blog labels for first time, every now and then I post on something. I remember a lot of the first times for eating a certain food. Kissing? I think it was in the first grade but I can’t remember that instant. We had an intimate place down in the storm cellar. I do remember the first time I kissed with a girl wearing glasses.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kaykuala

    One can imagine the endless occasions when things get thrown in throes of awkwardness and confusion. Maladroit stands tall in encompassing all of them. Well crafted Kim!


    Liked by 1 person

  8. So much to love about this poem- the fact that it brought up “Oh, I should have written about my mother hanging my itsy bitsy bras on the clothesline and the school bus drives by, the fact that for YEARS we had a sign that advertised “Free Manure” in our front field, and of course… that first kiss. Oh my. Loved this AND then you rocked it by using nature as a metaphor… Lovely all around.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s amazing how we can see the beauty of nature no matter her season and yet struggle to see it within ourselves. (I literally just had that same experience with a shop mirror the other day… I looked up to see myself reflected head to toe and was surprised by what I saw)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a delightful poem! I enjoyed it all, and especially how you wound it up with the comparison to the tree’s buds! I will not look at a budding tree in the same way again. And, ah, those other firsts….so relatable!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I just love where you took the poem at the end. I, too, have wondered about what goes on in the mind of trees, about how our behaviors would change if we were/felt more like them. Many times, I’ve suspected that they welcome the naked rest of autumn… while anticipating springs knew sprouts. Change is an embraced blessing, I feel.

    Also, the language of your poem, especially at the beginning, reminds me Caitlin Moran’s work. Quite fitting, too, since you introduced to her writings.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes, a perfect beginning to a poem both relatable and, in that ending, curious. I’m taking that question, tucked in my back pocket, to the park next time I go write under the now drifting leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. back again – ha ha. Yes, I have six kids and its lovely when they have the “mother of all tantrums” in public… Seems sweet from a distance of many years!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You’ve struck a really engaging, authentic, somewhat conversational tone here … a woman, women would enjoy having a conversation with. The woman/season reflection was wonderful. A pleasure to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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