Image by Maria Teneva


the madrigal, volume iii

Consider the Pompom

by dale lombardi

That fanciful fun-burst
sewn to the top of a hat
or onto the pointy tips
of Turkish velvet dancing slippers —

Oh, the pompom!
A most under-appreciated

embellishment, especially

in its most serious role


atop the shoes
of a stony-faced Greek soldier

dressed in his precisely

pleated (400 pleats) white skirt,


white shirt and embroidered vest.

Watch him as he marches

brawny and stiff-legged,
one arm outstretched,

its wide bell sleeve flaring
with purity of national purpose,

while the other arm slams
the butt end of his 11 pound rifle

into his shoulder with every step.

Each 7 pound cowhide shoe
is hand-stitched (300 stitches)

and hammered with nails (60)

to clatter on stone,
simulating the sound of battle
where there is none.
The silk pompoms at their curled tips

no longer offer toe protection

from snow and cold.
Their sole modern purpose
is to explode the gravity,

announce a readiness for fun

at the drop of a hat – or gun –

and kick tiny tufts of whimsy

into the all-too-serious air.

Dale Lombardi is a poet and conceptual artist who takes her inspiration from old trees, stone walls and daydreams in the Litchfield Hills of  Connecticut.  She had a poet’s heart from the beginning, but the poet within lay dormant as she earned her degrees in Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology, then juggled family and careers as a speech pathologist, communication consultant and corporate trainer.   Once she left the stress of careers and the vigilance of motherhood behind, she had space enough — and time — for the poet-artist within to  emerge.  Ever believing in the transformative power of beauty,  she now spends her days walking, wondering, and creating.