Learn More

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.

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..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  3. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  6. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  7. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  8. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas
  10. I Am the Only Being Whose Doom, Emily Jane Brontë

Poem of the Day

poet Emily Jane Brontë

I am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask no eye would mourn
I never caused a thought of gloom
A smile of joy since I was born

In secret pleasure - secret tears
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Graduate school first semester: so here .., Cheryl Savageau
  2. Toll of human safety., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  3. I am not ready to say I am unfortunate, gajanan mishra
  4. Yesterday's Snow, Marilyn Lott
  5. Ego, Denise Duhamel
  6. Life and Heaven, Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  7. Rain Song, Khaled Mattawa
  8. Childhood Stories, Matthew Rohrer
  9. Christmas, Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  10. My Pretty Rose Tree, Luo Zhihai
[Hata Bildir]