Pahrump Valley High Cheer Squad, circa 1987 


They provide the skirt;
the smirk,
she’s already got.

She’s caught
between childhood and
the world,
wielding nothing
but a pair of pom-poms.

She’s got
cheers for fears
and all the too-loud
seasons. She’s got
some years of sorrow
for her tears.


It’s Quadrille Monday, and I’m hosting. Come play! 




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51 Responses to Rah

  1. Frank Hubeny says:

    I like the “skirt” “smirk” rhyme. And reference to those coming years of sorrow.

  2. Oh, I have never really understood cheerleading … we don’t really have it here, and it seems to be such amount of trauma (both to be chosen and not to be chosen)… The closest we have is to elected to be Lucia on December 13, which is more like a beauty pageant.

  3. Shawna says:

    Oh my gosh, I am elated over that photo!!!

  4. kanzensakura says:

    I was always in the band. Never chosen because I was not popular. I felt sad for the cheer leaders though because it seemed too many times behind the pompoms and makeup, there was a sense of sadness. Excellent quadrille!

  5. Glenn Buttkus says:

    I guess cheerleading is an American thing. I always loved looking at the girls twirl, but some part of me knew it was a sexist custom.

  6. kim881 says:

    I love the half-rhyme/wordplay of skirt/smirk, the image of a girl ‘wielding nothing but a pair of pom-poms’, and the phrase ‘cheers for fears’ – a play on the band name Tears for Fears, which ties up nicely with ‘reasons for her tears’. It took me back to the eighties when young girls wore ra-ra skirts.We didn’t have cheerleading back then, but I believe it’s becoming popular over here now.

  7. msjadeli says:

    you’ve captured so much here of navigating through the teen years, both social and personal. a very intimate rendering

  8. love this retrospective (and photo – and prompt) – facing the world with just a pair of pom-poms – no wonder there were tears

  9. gillena cox says:

    Cheerleading is a part of sports here in T&T nowadays. When i was a child not so. Its all about sport arena growing and the introduction of new influences.
    Your poem talks about a season coming so i interpret that to be winter days
    Warm wishes

    Much love…

  10. I can imagine this as a country song. Good use of the prompt 🙂

  11. sanaarizvi says:

    You look so beautiful in that picture, De! ❤ Love the rhymes skirt/smirk and the phrase ‘cheers for fears’ there is so much that goes on in teenage years.

  12. jillys2016 says:

    Cheers for fears – nailed it!

  13. Oh, this line: “She’s got
    cheers for fears”

    Great write!

  14. Maggie C says:

    Cheers for fears and nothing but a pair of pompoms. Pretty well sums up that age. Love the poem.

  15. Rob Kistner says:

    Hahaha… funny – but bittersweet as well. This is great De, loved it! Before I read your piece I was thinking, as I looked at the picture, “look at the smirk on the one in the middle”. And I swear to Santa, my very next thought was, “that must be De!” 😉

  16. V.J. Knutson says:

    Good portrait of naiveté despite the ‘smirk’. Love the photo.

  17. the alliterations and the beat of this poem felt like a rah rah cheer for me. beautiful!

  18. rothpoetry says:

    There are always tears to follow cheers at some point in life!

  19. Great photo De. and love the pop-culture reference – tears for fears; and ‘wielding nothing…’ is a great phrase. As an outsider to your culture cheerleading is a mystery made a little clearer by this fine verse.

  20. Sabio Lantz says:

    Fascinating — so much so, that I read it three time because I was drawn back to enjoy the three entangled stories of sassy naivety, silly transitions, and a foreboding fate.

  21. merrildsmith says:

    This is such an interesting use of the prompt word. I like the rhythm of this. Yes, that is quite a smirk. Hindsight is something, isn’t it? 🙂 I never really understood cheerleading, but I also have no interest in sports. My daughters were in choir and theater, so I understand the getting chosen and rejected part.

  22. Great Quadrille and photo De! Alas, I made the finalists for cheerleader, but was never chosen. Sounds like that may have been good, although I didn’t think so at the time.

  23. Teresa says:

    That image is a carbon copy of my high school days (graduated in ’86). Love the playful use of words in your poem.

  24. I like how you connected the prompt to cheerleading. I like the first stanza.

  25. Pingback: Secret ingredient – poem for dVerse | Fmme writes poems

  26. Great hair! I love the wordplay, and the feeling of looking back and knowing what’s to come. I hope you don’t mind me borrowing a verse as my “secret ingredient”.

  27. I wasn’t a cheerleader, but I can relate to the “cheers for fears” and vulnerability here. I enjoyed this, and thanks for the prompt.

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