Tuesday, May 17, 2016

DMC: "Mary Louisa Boit, Age 8" by Suzy Levinson

"The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit" by John Singer Sargent (1882)


Florence and Jane have been
whispering, whispering
older-girl secrets that aren't meant for me.

I'm stuck with Julia—
babyish, babyish,
handing me Dolly as if I'm still three.

My mind's like a mare, always
galloping, galloping
far from this parlor, unbridled and free.

© 2016 Suzy Levinson. All rights reserved.

Laura Shovan has challenged us to write persona poems this month. Click HERE for more details. You don't need to include the artwork that inspired your poem, but you are welcome to as long as I can properly attribute the artist/photographer.

Send your poem to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, May 27th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her fantastic new verse novel for middle grade readers:


  1. Nicely done! The painting, at the MFA in Boston, is huge, about 7' x 7' and those little girls can't help but pull you in!

  2. Yes! I grew up in the Boston area and it's my mom's favorite painting so we went to see it often. :) Thanks to Laura Shovan and Michelle for the reminder, and inspiration!

  3. So much to love about this, Suzy — the story you pulled out, Mary Louisa's voice, and that galloping rhythm which we don't recognize as galloping until the last stanza, and then it's AHA! Lovingly and expertly crafted!

  4. Wonderful story for the painting! (And look at those vases...Florence is going to be in big trouble when the one she's leaning on topples and breaks.)

  5. Buffy's comment made me laugh. Good job, Suzy! Wish I could see the painting in person. You nailed Mary Louisa's persona.

  6. Good news, the vases survived! The daughters actually donated them to the MFA and they sit on either side of the painting. Pretty cool.

  7. I love the simple, refreshing structure of this. It goes well with the voice of Mary Louisa.

  8. Great use of repetition to show the reader a busy mind at work.

  9. Love your galloping poem, Mary Louisa is ready to bold any moment!

  10. Wonderful poem, Suzy. That painting is a favorite of mine, too. I've been to the MFA to see it in person many times, and it's stunning in person. I love the attitude you convey in the lonely girl's thoughts. It is so easy to be lonely, even surrounded by one's family.

  11. You have collaborated with J.S. Sargent in a rhythmic way that perhaps would make him smile, as it has, me.