The Voyage Out: A Poem by Marian O’Brien Paul


“The Voyage Out: A Poem*”
(a forced collaboration)
by Marian O’Brien Paul


I. The river
Sometimes the river is an opulent purple
or mud-colored or a sparkling blue like the sea
A straw floats past, caught
in an iridescent circle
swims in the well of a tear
     Words strike her ear like
the drop of a straw
or a stick stroke
or the impact on river water
of a solitary tear
     With eyes as unreflecting as water
she is like her mother
as an image in a pool
fades the face hung above it
    II. The sea
Looking in the sea she sees
beneath its marred surface
the green grow dimmer, dimmer
melt into sand’s pale blur
an empty field bereft
of violet or of hollyhock
Inside at night she shudders
thinking of the sea
outside tossing black
beneath the moon
     (across the pool falls
     a blue shadow)

*Excerpt from “The Voyage Out: A Poem (a forced collaboration)” by Marian O’Brien Paul, Virginia Woolf and the Arts: Selected Papers from the Sixth Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf. Edited by Dianne F. Gillespie and Leslie K. Hankins. New York: Pace University Press, 1997, pp. 237 – 242.



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Marian O’Brien Paul Artist Statement: A literature and creative writing teacher for more than 25 years, Marian O’Brien Paul has a PhD in Writing and English Literature. Among her recently published poems are two in April 2016 Englyn Journal of Four Line Poetry <>, two in Pushing the Envelope: Epistolary Poems, Ed. Jonas Zdanys Lamar U Press, 2015; four in Eastlit <>, March 2015; two in Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine <>, July 2014; Line 7 in the Gathering Poem (Dublin, Ireland, Feb. 2014 50 lines chosen from 8000 submitted by people of Irish descent across the world). In the past thirty years her poems appeared in journals, magazines, ezines, and in Virginia Woolf and the Arts: Selected Papers from the Sixth Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf (“The Voyage Out: a Poem” 1997). Her prose story “Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home,” appeared in the October 2015 issue of the Liguorian Magazine.


Author: A Room of Her Own

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