I used to hide behind fringes:

the tablecloth fringe that dangled
from grandmother’s dining table,
the one I pulled until scalding
tea splashed on my legs;

the grass and weeds on the fringe
of the field near the railway bridge,
the green-shadowed place
where I buried my pet hamster;

the fringe of hair over my eyes,
my mother’s scissor-straight line,
the blonde fringe that hid my fear
and embarrassment when

the teacher asked questions
I didn’t know how to answer,
or a boy made suggestions
I didn’t understand.

Kim M. Russell, 2nd March 2021

Me at two years old – with a very straight fringe!

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Edges and Fringes

Lisa is our Poetics host this week with a two-pronged discussion and prompt inspired by Carol’s poem ‘Knife-edge’, which got her thinking about what it would look like to be edgy with poetry.

Lisa mentions Sylvia Plath and an essay by Claire Millikin about Plath’s techniques in ‘Edge’ and other poems, in which she says ‘The edge is where the poem shows everything that is left out of the poem,’ and asks about ‘the word, the line, that cuts, that can show that edge’, which reminds me of the cutting word in haiku. Lisa has shared two ‘edge’ poems by Christopher Logue and Anna Akhmatova.

Lisa goes on to define fringe, comparing an edge, which seems close and sharp, with a fringe, which feels distant and less-defined and easier to ignore.

She asks us to choose to write a poem 1) using the word edge; 2) keeping Millikin’s question about the cutting word in mind; 3) using the word fringe; or 4) from the fringe, however we define it. Whatever we choose, we should indicate and explain our choices.

I thought I’d try writing from the fringe, as there are no examples of poems that do that.. 

51 thoughts on “Fringe

    1. I was burnt quite badly and still have scars from that accident, as well as a few other stupid accidents. I was a very clumsy child – still am.


  1. Kim, I think you wrote from the fringe and love the examples you used. I also think you write from the edge here, with the lesson from the hot tea and what isn’t said about the last lines in your poem. Wonderful prompt capture.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a cute picture of you with a baby fringe! I like how you examined the fringes of your childhood world, especially ‘the green-shadowed place
    where I buried my pet hamster;’ – that must have been a heartbreaking memory. I think I made a cross out of lollipop sticks to mark the grave of my first goldfish!


  3. Oh yes indeedy! I had a fringe cut by my mother all through childhood. Every time she managed to also nick my ear lobes as she cut around the base of my hair and draw blood! Loved your writing and can relate to all you shared.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cute photo! Excellent write on fringes, Kim…you told enough but not too much, leaving us with some questions too. I grew out my bangs last year during pandemic lockdown 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My mother was convinced I’d go blind if my fringe was too long. It was after she snipped through my earlobe that she decided a professional should take over the chore. I loved your poem, Kim. A really adorable photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That fringe of hair was the first place I went with this prompt (ended up somewhere else). Your memory sparks memory and leaves me squirming slightly. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Must first say, I LOVE the photo of you!
    The progression of types of fringe is interesting….a tablecloth, outside, and then bangs. The first led to a burn you still bear the scar from; the second was where you buried a pet; and the third was where you hid as a young girl growing up.
    I am in the midst of physical therapy trying to correct 73 years of horrible posture that has now affected my back and neck. Yesterday the PT showed me the posture little girls who are shy assume, scrunching their shoulders down, dipping their head down …. I found it interesting. The idea of standing up straight, lookin’ ’em in the eye….”lean in” is the phrase I believe is used today. Little girls growing up in these days are encouraged to take their place at the table, speak out and stand up. How far you’ve come from those days when you hid behind your bangs. Your writing, your teaching. Remarkable woman you are in many ways….bet you don’t hide behind your bangs anymore 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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