Virginia Bradley
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Virginia Bradley 
J. Lorraine Brown 
Nancy Tupper Ling 
Marcia Szymanski 
Jean Tupper 
Fran Witham 
JoAnne Preiser 





Virginia Bradley began writing poetry after a long career in teaching.
Following her retirement, she attended workshops led by poet Gretchen Robinson of Attleboro, Massachusetts; there she met several of the women who now compose the Fine Line Poets.

Virginia says, "Meeting with the women in our group has been a highlight of my retirement.  We are a very cohesive group, giving one another straightforward critique in warmly supportive ways."

Now living in Providence, Rhode Island, Virginia grew up near her paternal grandfather's farm in Seekonk, Massachusetts.  Some of her poems are about the farm, but many more center on her father who lived life independently and enthusiastically into his ninety-sixth year.  Virginia also writes about the city, nature, and her commitment to religious and community activities.

Virginia's poetry has earned several First and Second prized at the annual Writers' Conference at Ocean Park, Maine.

Preparing for Winter



He slides the last screens

down steep cellar stairs,

lifts the old storms

a step at a time,


leans a ladder against

the shingles, then, hoisting

each frame in front of a window

fastens the screws with a practiced wind.


The frost last night was a warning,

covering corn husks and gourds.

Cold cuts through his thin jacket.

Indian summer has gone.


The ladder now stored in the old wooden shed,

he hangs jacket and cap on a peg,

clicks on the lamp in the hallway,

slowly turns up the heat.


The ancient furnace is faithful,

rumbling steam through the pipes,

and radiators with pans

of water on top


begin to knock,

hiss and pop, along with boards

in the old pine floors

which also creak and snap


like bones that still work

hard and well

in a body preparing

for winter.

Web at Dawn


grooves burned gold in the sun

a gossamer disc

waiting to play

an insect's death-song.

January 17th, Five above Zero


Tanya's the last to leave the shelter;

she folds the two Red Cross blankets

into a bag marked with her name--

she'll be back tonight after seven.


I watch her pack her belongings:

the powder-blue bag of cosmetics,

her robe, extra sweaters, and last

at the top, a little stuffed panda.


"Come have some breakfast," I say.

"There's cereal, coffee, and Danish."

She sets her bag at the end of the counter;

I reach out and touch the panda.


A smile softens her face. "My baby's, Maria."

Pictures appear from her wallet. "Here,

her first birthday. And this is Joey, he's three.

They're with my mom in New Hampshire."


She's silent and looks away, takes out her pass

to Traveler's Aid.  There she'll store

her belongings, perhaps take a shower,

then two more buses to get to her job


where she'll work as if nothing has happened,

nothing at all--except for the children.

She'll call them at break, again at seven

before she returns to the shelter.