The Short Song of What Befalls

Fiser, Karen

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
  • Date of entry: Dec-17-1996


This is a compact, strikingly vivid poem about fate--"what comes about apart from trying . . . generally of misfortunes." The narrator speculates about the story behind the single red high heeled shoe found alongside the highway. Misfortune is likened to an act of nature--being struck by lightning--a capricious event which alters one's life forever after.


The poet is disabled with painful osteoarthritis. This poem is dedicated to "Robin Wells," but one feels it could as well be speaking of the poet's own (or anyone's) disability. A number of other poems in this collection reflect on her experience. Across the Border (see this database) emphasizes the sense of exile and Pointing to the Place of the Pain (see this database) explores pain as a state of being.

Primary Source

Words Like Fate and Pain



Place Published

Cambridge, Mass.