Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

May 1968


When the Dean said we could not cross campus
until the students gave up the buildings,
we lay down, in the street,
we said the cops will enter this gate
over us. Lying back on the cobbles,
I saw the buildings of New York City
from dirt level, they soared up
and stopped, chopped off--above them, the sky,
the night air over the island.
The mounted police moved, near us,
while we sang, and then I began to count,
12, 13, 14, 15,
I counted again, 15, 16, one
month since the day on that deserted beach,
17, 18, my mouth fell open,
my hair on the street,
if my period did not come tonight
I was pregnant. I could see the sole of a cop's
shoe, the gelding's belly, its genitals--
if they took me to Women's Detention and did
the exam on me, the speculum,
the fingers--I gazed into the horse's tail
like a comet-train. All week, I had
thought about getting arrested, half-longed
to give myself away. On the tar--
one brain in my head, another,
in the making, near the base of my tail--
I looked at the steel arc of the horse's
shoe, the curve of its belly, the cop's
nightstick, the buildings streaming up
away from the earth. I knew I should get up
and leave, but I lay there looking at the space
above us, until it turned deep blue and then
ashy, colorless, Give me this one
night, I thought, and I'll give this child
the rest of my life, the horse's heads,
this time, drooping, dipping, until
they slept in a circle around my body and my daughter

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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

Form:


Read poems about / on: horse, beach, daughter, women, city, hair, child, night, sky, woman, sleep, children

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 (May 1968 by Sharon Olds )

Read all 3 comments »

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  5. If, Rudyard Kipling
  6. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  7. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
  10. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
[Hata Bildir]