Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day: “Rope Swing,” by Jessica Whipple

This April we are filling the EasternPennPoints blog with art and poetry in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

child on rope swing

Rope Swing

by Jessica Whipple

When he first saw it, it was a snake
looping up over rocks
down into the muck again.

But no, a rope from the junkyard
nothing but trash
freed in the flood
to settle in the crook of the Big Sewickley Creek.

Not a conservationist—
an opportunist—
Dad grabbed one frayed end
pulled twenty-five feet of soggy jute onto the shore
shifting shale in the creekbed
scraping and scuffing flat rock against flat rock.

We walked the field
where neighborhood kids ran obstacle courses
seventy pounds coiled around his shoulders
the tail left dangling for me.
He slung it up into the maple
litter becoming treasure
at the foot of my backyard.

With pipefitter hands he knotted it
with a scrap of cable he secured it
around the strongest, longest limb.
Not recycling—
Seeing ahead to late August
when cicadas crescendo
and street lights flicker on
his daughter swinging from that tree
until the grass underneath
is nothing but dirt.

Jessica Whipple spent 4.5 years as a copywriter; later, her writing informed, recruited, and incited the support of donors and volunteers at a Pittsburgh nonprofit. Now she is submitting picture book manuscripts to agents and editors and is excited to consider this next chapter of her writing career (cheesy puns and all). Jessica is writing in Lancaster, PA, but you can also catch her on Twitter @Jessicawhippl17.

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3 Responses to Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day: “Rope Swing,” by Jessica Whipple

  1. I feel your joy, Jessica!

  2. Brinton Culp says:

    Love the feeling of a late August evening–and eco-friendly trash to treasure ☺

  3. KCS says:

    Visceral and evocative! I love how you captured plot and character so strongly in this verse. Thanks for sharing!=)

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