30 Poems : Day two. Cold Spring Harbor.


Yes, yes, I know. I’m a day late. Which means I still have to do one for today, day three. It wouldn’t be Napowrimo unless I was late for at least a couple of days.

But I am still committed to 30 poems in 30 days. I should recapture my university style and do 27 of them on April 30th…

I’ve just been reading Bill Bryson’s wonderful “One Summer: America 1927”, a section from which inspired this poem.



In 1927 the eugenics movement was going strong, based around the office in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. It is such an evocative name, and so close to Rachel Carson’s “silent spring”. This poem takes all that, and looks inward.


In my search for perfection

Too many lives were lost

How quickly did I sterilize myself

Using the tools I had at hand.

Determinedly gouging out my ovaries

Lest I should reproduce

My imbecility.

It was simple for me to justify

Pseudo-science came easily.

 I wasted my skills on building


Now, with the maturity that comes of pain,

I shut the door on Cold Spring Harbor,

Walk out into the warm spring day

And embrace imperfection.









2 thoughts on “30 Poems : Day two. Cold Spring Harbor.

  1. Bryson is brilliant. & this poem contains some powerful lines which contain some black humour: just like the master … “Lest I should reproduce/My imbecility.” particularly impressed me 🙂

    1. Thank you kind sir. Most flattering.Nobody but Bryson can have me gripped by some piece of gut-wrenching social history one minute, and then laughing to the point of tears the next.

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