Summer Reading/Green Mansions
by Mary McCarthy

Tired of the games we played
up and down the cobbled alley:
War, Red Rover, Simon Says,
I quit,
and took my book to the second floor
back porch
where I could read at peace


In a place where trees were scarce,
I was in love with Rima
in her magical forest,
who made her dress of spidersilk
and was the last speaker
of a wondrous language
no one understood.

From the lip of that silence
she turned and looked at me,
just before she fell, burning,
from the burning tree.

And I was caught there with her
so very far away —

when they called me to come in
I couldn’t even hear them.

PHOTO: Audrey Hepburn as Rima the Bird Girl in the film version of Green Mansions (1959).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My mother gave me a copy of W.H. Hudson’s Green Mansions when I was nine, and it was my favorite book for a long time. All the issues I would later see with its colonial and racial attitudes were invisible to me at that age — I just fell for the romance of it all, wanted to be Rima in her enchanted forest!!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. She has been published in many print and online journals, including Third Wednesday, Earth’s Daughters, Camel Saloon, and Gnarled Oak. Despite the grim realities of the world as it is now, she holds great hopes for the future.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me at thirty. A time I’d like to revisit!