Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ferrywoman on the road

Bit of green stained glass courtesy of and Anonymous
It was an adventurous day of playing Ferrywoman, fetching my daughter home. I managed to get lost in the Absolute Boonies despite a mapquest printout and GPS (which took me in a not-amusing forest circle) but made it to where I was going, and even had a wonderful picnic on the way back, and saw three curious fox kits in the woods. (Yesterday I saw a single fox kit, along with muskrats, a giant box turtle, pickerel, bass, and sunfish, so I've been feeling that spring really is here to stay.) In a sadder vein, we were also first on the scene of a dreadful bike accident--a boy swooped down an unpaved mountain drive, rocketed across the highway just in front of us, smacked into a guard rail, and somersaulted over it. Poor child, he was lucky not to break his neck or be hit by a car (ours, perhaps.) But he was badly injured and I'm still thinking about him, so if you're the praying kind, say a little prayer for Justin. He's the world's child, a young roamer caught up and thrown in a moment of play and wildness. Here's a fragment of poem for him and for the restlessness in my mind:

I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour
And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,
And under the arches of the bridge, and scream
In the elms above the flooded stream;
Imagining in excited reverie
That the future years had come,
Dancing to a frenzied drum,
Out of the murderous innocence of the sea.
     -Yeats, from "Prayer for My Daughter"

It's past two in the morning... Good night, moon and trees and sleepers in sickrooms and bedrooms and tents and the open air. Good night, world!


  1. Oh, Justin...! there but for the grace of god go i and so many of us. How some of us survive our wildly playful childhood is nothing short of grace. my prayers.

    1. Yes, it is marvelous that so many of us survive youth . . . train trestles, jumping off dams, frolicking in frenzy. Youth is beautiful but wild.

  2. Thinking of him and hoping he recovers and learns something from the experience.

    1. I feel sure he'll recover, despite how horrible it looked. But yes, would be nice if he gained a little more caution, particularly in non-home settings.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.