Treasure Island

Heather McHugh

(20 August 1948 / San Diego, California)

Better or Worse


I.

Daily, the kindergarteners
passed my porch. I loved
their likeness and variety,
their selves in line like little
monosyllables, but huggable—
I wasn't meant

to grab them, ever,
up into actual besmooches or down
into grubbiest tumbles, my lot was not
to have them, in the flesh.
Was it better or worse to let
their lovability go by untouched, and just
watch over their river of ever-
inbraiding relations? I wouldn't
mother them or teach. We couldn't be
each other's others; maybe,
at removes, each other's each.

II.

Each toddler had a hand-hold on
a loop of rope, designed to haul
the whole school onward
in the sidewalk stream—
like pickerel through freshets,
at the pull of something else's will, the children
spun and bobbled, three years old and four
(or were they little drunken Buddhas,
buoyant, plump?). They looked
now to the right, now to the sky, and now
toward nothing (nothing was too small)—
they followed a thread of destination,
chain of command, order of actual rope that led

to what? Who knew?

For here and now in one child's eye there was a yellow truck,
and in another's was a burning star; but from my own perspective,
overhead, adult, where trucks and suns had lost their luster,
they were one whole baby-rush toward
a target, toward the law
of targets, fledge
in the wake of an arrowhead;

a bull's-eye bloomed, a red
eight-sided sign. What
did I wish them?
Nothing I foresaw.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Better or Worse by Heather McHugh )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Advent Of The Eagle's Cry, Captain Cur
  2. Strange Charisma Of Your Words, Captain Cur
  3. SENRYU (5-7-5) 11, Aftab Alam
  4. SENRYU (5-7-5) 10, Aftab Alam
  5. Bright, John Shea
  6. The Passion Inside, Jason Summers
  7. Earth Control, Moses Samandar
  8. I Won't Hold You Back, Jason Summers
  9. Happy New Year, Jason Summers
  10. Coming Home, Jason Summers

Poem of the Day

poet Emily Dickinson

70

"Arcturus" is his other name—
I'd rather call him "Star."
It's very mean of Science
To go and interfere!

I slew a worm the other day—
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Kenneth Allott

 
[Hata Bildir]