A post by poet Barbara Crooker:
This poem came from a prompt, which was to imagine that you were suddenly an expert in anything you wanted, that this talent magically was yours.
I’d always loved those Gidget movies (and books), and so this was (and still is) my desire. Even when younger, I wasn’t very athletic, so this has been my secret wish for years and years. Think “transformation into Cameron Diaz!” Of course, I’m referencing Keats’s epitaph at the end.
I’m walking on the beach this brisk November morning,
the bleached sea grass bending in the wind, when there,
up ahead, in the pewter waves, I see a surfer in his wet suit,
sleek as a seal, cutting in and out of the curl, shining in the light.
I’m on the far side of sixty, athletic as a sofa, but this is where
the longing starts, the yearning for another life, the one
where I’m lithe and long-limbed, tanned California gold,
short tousled hair full of sunshine. The life where I shoulder my board,
stride into the waves, dive under the breakers, and rise; my head shaking
off water like a golden retriever. I am waiting for that perfect wave to come,
so I can crouch up and catch it, my arms out like wings, slicing back
and forth in the froth, wind at my back, sea’s slick metal polished
before me. Nothing more important now than this balance between
water and air, the rhythm of in and out, staying ahead of the break,
choosing my line like I choose these words, writing my name
on water, writing my name on air.
~Barbara Crooker (More, C&R Press, 2010)
Barbara Crooker’s poems have appeared in magazines such as The Green Mountains Review, Poet Lore, The Hollins Critic, The Christian Science Monitor, Nimrod and anthologies such as The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Her awards include the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, fifteen residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a residency at the Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France; and a residency at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Ireland.
Her books are Radiance, which won the 2005 Word Press First Book competition and was a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance (Word Press 2008), which won the 2009 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; More (C&R Press 2010), and Gold (Cascade Books, 2013). Her poetry has been read on the BBC, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company), and by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, and she’s read in the Poetry at Noon series at the Library of Congress.
“Surfer Girl” is from Barbara’s collection, More. Here’s the Amazon link.
Check out Barbara’s website here.
Gidget! The character first came to life in a novel by Frederick Kohner. Gidget is based on the author’s daughter.
The Gidget you see above is Sandra Dee, standing with Cliff Robertson and James Darren in the 1959 film.
And of course, Sally Field played the part with gusto in the 1960s television show.