Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

The Clasp


She was four, he was one, it was raining, we had colds,
we had been in the apartment two weeks straight,
I grabbed her to keep her from shoving him over on his
face, again, and when I had her wrist
in my grasp I compressed it, fiercely, for a couple
of seconds, to make an impression on her,
to hurt her, our beloved firstborn, I even almost
savored the stinging sensation of the squeezing,
the expression, into her, of my anger,
"Never, never, again," the righteous
chant accompanying the clasp. It happened very
fast-grab, crush, crush,
crush, release-and at the first extra
force, she swung her head, as if checking
who this was, and looked at me,
and saw me-yes, this was her mom,
her mom was doing this. Her dark,
deeply open eyes took me
in, she knew me, in the shock of the moment
she learned me. This was her mother, one of the
two whom she most loved, the two
who loved her most, near the source of love
was this.


Anonymous submission.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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

Read poems about / on: mom, anger, mother, dark, rain

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 (The Clasp by Sharon Olds )

Enter the verification code :

  • Colleen Courtney (5/15/2014 10:54:00 AM)

    I can also remember the first time own daughter looked at me with that unbelievable look of, but wait, you're my mom! Lovely poem. (Report) Reply

  • Saadat Tahir (6/1/2009 10:07:00 AM)

    yes every day happening...but not something ull forget in a long time...the angels might forget and take it in stride....you will surely remeber and relive
    poignant sensitising and great vwrite
    tenner
    cheers (Report) Reply

  • Bill Grace (4/12/2006 10:52:00 PM)

    One of the English essayists I was required to read ages ago said that if you strike a child it can be forgiven only if it done in the heat of the moment and without premeditation. This may be the thought of E. M. Forrester, but I don't think so, and my mind does not seem to be able to help with a more exact source. 'The Clasp' is undergirded by this wonderful sensitivity and the courage to share a frequent phenomenon of being a parent. I hope someday to find more of your work here or someplace in the universe because it speaks of what Paul Tillich's literary executor once referred to as the integrity of language. Bill Grace (Report) Reply

  • Michael Philips (1/19/2005 8:49:00 AM)

    This poem rings with truth. I know that 'What's this? ' look from a child - the sudden realization that you're not always on their side. Olds brings this out so succinctly and beautifully. I had never thought about it before. (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »

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. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

New Poems

  1. I am yours forever, gajanan mishra
  2. सिनायमोनि आंनि सिमांनि रजे, Bahadur Basumatary
  3. Wildly Into The Night, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  4. Drunk poetry, Christian Lacdael
  5. Opportunities, Christian Lacdael
  6. COPLA 68 INVOCATION: This Bad Guy World, T (no first name) Wignesan
  7. Yes I Do, Lalit Kaira
  8. Wooden Footprints, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  9. New Migration Equilibriums Time Shift Es.., Terence G. Craddock
  10. bonnie to your clyde, Mandolyn ...

Poem of the Day

poet Edmund Spenser

Of this worlds theatre in which we stay,
My love like the spectator ydly sits
Beholding me that all the pageants play,
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
...... Read complete »

   
[Hata Bildir]