“There is a voice inside of you
that whispers all day long.” ~Shel Silverstein

“You’ve come to learn how lost you are,
but north should be right where you stand.
Poor thing, you’ve journeyed way too far.”
The fortune-teller closed my hand,
let out a sigh, and flipped the light.
“You’re looking for some promised land
relying on another’s sight.
Keep on that way, and you’ll be bound
to end somewhere that isn’t right.
Deep-down, you know to turn around.
Now, hurry home back to yourself.
Your heart will always know the ground.”

Originally from South Carolina, Gretchen Hodgin now lives in Maryland. Recently, her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Rattle, Measure, Tar River Poetry, Magma Poetry, and Other Poetry.


I have a secret:  I've never been to a fortune-teller in my life.  I think I was just trying to boost my own morale when I wrote this poem.  Marrying Emerson's sentiment, "imitation is suicide" with my favorite form, the terza rima, is probably my adult way of interpreting childhood insecurities.  But if it doesn't infringe on any copyright, I think I'll let Shel Silverstein have the final word here, "There is a voice inside of you,/ That whispers all day long,/ 'I feel that this is right for me,/ I know that this is wrong.'/  No teacher, preacher, parent, friend,/ Or wise man can decide/ What's right for you -- just listen to/ The voice that speaks inside."




Copyright 2009