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The blue hood

Since I was born, I’ve been praying to something blue
and hooded inside me, straight from the cave

where early people gathered praying, too,
towards something they couldn’t name...


For a few weeks, a blue jay boarded here
in the shag bark hickory, magnificent 
even among the magificent 
of its species, large and wildly chevroned 
blue and white and black. It attacked 
any bird, any cat, bumbling human, 
to protect its partner open beaked and on the nest...


Greedy doll, so greedy you swallowed
four more like you, each with a rosebud mouth
matching floral blouse and hair kerchief too.
I take you apart in demitasses,
half-cup after half-cup girl...


 Shelley Girdner is a writer and teacher living in the Seascoast of New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Hunger Mountain, The Mid-American Review, Indiana Review and others. She has been a finalist for the Slapering Hol Chapbook contest and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first book, You Were That Bird is published by Bauhan Publishing in Spring 2016. 

News & Events



Book available through Bauhan Publishing

and UPNE


Barrington Public Library

Barrington, New Hampshire




A chat with NHPR's Peter Biello on "The Bookshelf" (full interview now online).





RiverRun Bookstore

Portsmouth, New Hampshire


You Were That White Bird release
Poet's Showcase Reading
NHPR The Bookshelf
You Were That White Bird Book Release Reading


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For any media inquiries or to inquire about readings and workshops, please contact Shelley Girdner at

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You Were That White Bird

"This is a book of wonders. This is a fearless poet of fine and original vision who is even able to risk admitting that sometimes neither human creativity nor hoped for divine salvation can ameliorate life's worst sorrows. And yet, and yet...these poems say, without saying --that when one is being pushed over the cliff's edge and manages to catch hold of the flimsiest branch, that branch is everything.  And further more, the strength and grit and grace of these poems suggest the branch is not only strong but flowering. There is nothing in this book but uncompromising honesty and profound love for the difficult yet miraculous world. Read it and more likely than not, by the end, you will feel not only renewed but, in the best ways possible, reinvented."

-Mekeel McBride, author Dog Star Delicatessen

Photo credit: David Ramsay

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