I Am the Sun upon My Shoulders: a Poem by Felicia Mitchell

I often say that present-day poetry is full of disharmony – blank verse, grotesque images, playing the games of postmodern instead of true feeling…

But I know: sometimes its disharmony turns out to be breathtakingly beautiful. 

Yesterday a poem caught my eye – Ground Hog by Felicia Mitchell. It touched my heart.

About The Author

Felicia was born in the United States, grew up in rural South Carolina. She moved from one place to another several times and worked many jobs – for example, biscuit cook, typesetter in a newspaper.

It seems to me, now she is a person who has found herself. 

Her texts appear widely in journals and anthologies. She has issued her own books Case Hysteries (1996), Earthenware Fertility Figure (1999), The Cleft of the Rock (2009), Waltzing with Horses (2014).

‘My poetry tends to explore family roots and the natural world,’ – Felicia writes. In spite of such a classical spiritual base, her poems are modern enough with regard to their form. 

The Whole World In A Short Poem

The beginning of the poem I liked so much is the following: The barn swallow flies at me. Nothing special, each of us has ever seen a little swallow in flight. 

But in Ground Hog, the ordinary moment becomes a key to the universe. It gives the character food for thought about so quirky and fragile existence:

The barn swallow flies at me

as if I am no more than cow,

no less than mortal being.

We, people, are a part of nature and a kind of its opposite at the same time. A human, that is capable of thinking, has the right to state: ‘I am the sun upon my shoulders’ (what an excellent phrasing!).

Why is the poem titled Ground Hog? This image is the main one.

We meet it while reading the last four lines. ‘The ground hog drinks from a puddle, not caring who I am’ just because ‘it wants a drink of water’. 

I think the little creature embodies the huge world which isn’t afraid of us, doesn’t push a human being away despite everything…

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Natalia Usanova
I am a poet and an amateur artist. A few years ago, it seemed to me creating works of art is a much more important occupation than reading books, visiting galleries, or listening to music. Now I don't think so. Let me share with you the masterpieces which have changed my life and can change yours. Follow me on Twitter!

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