Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

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The Unborn


Sometimes I can almost see, around our heads,
Like gnats around a streetlight in summer,
The children we could have,
The glimmer of them.

Sometimes I feel them waiting, dozing
In some antechamber - servants, half-
Listening for the bell.

Sometimes I see them lying like love letters
In the Dead Letter Office

And sometimes, like tonight, by some black
Second sight I can feel just one of them
Standing on the edge of a cliff by the sea
In the dark, stretching its arms out
Desperately to me.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Saturday, November 19, 2011

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Comments about this poem (The Unborn by Sharon Olds )

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  • Colleen Courtney (5/15/2014 11:17:00 AM)

    One of my favorite poems by the poet. So much tender honesty and heartfelt longing. Simply beautiful. (Report) Reply

  • Akila A (12/16/2013 12:35:00 AM)

    Today i got a chance to read this poem and i was stretching out my arms to hold them. A very wam and lively poem. Thanks for the good one. (Report) Reply

  • Jasbir Chatterjee (11/29/2013 10:57:00 PM)

    this poem gives me the eerie feeling of something waiting to happen, , , something like standing on the edge of a cliff...good write... (Report) Reply

  • Alistair Graham (11/29/2013 3:05:00 AM)

    The Born

    Babies Puppies Kittens
    In a cuddled state
    Of mind,
    In the strong
    Arms of the law
    Of nature. (Report) Reply

  • Ruth Owusu (1/24/2013 6:41:00 AM)

    love this poem,
    it speaks to my heart and i can relate with it.
    love your style of write.. (Report) Reply

  • Leslie Philibert (1/16/2013 2:58:00 AM)

    A brillant poem from an established poet, who has recently been hounoured. She is too good for this site (Report) Reply

  • Stephen W (1/7/2013 4:28:00 PM)

    I don't think this poem has anything to do with abortion. What are people thinking? (Report) Reply

  • Alistair Graham (12/22/2012 6:18:00 PM)

    Reminds me of the Buddhist belief of “souls” waiting to be reincarnated into a new body for a new round. (Report) Reply

  • Sonya Marco (12/14/2012 12:00:00 PM)

    n some antechamber - servants, half-
    Listening for the bell. ...I love this poem! (Report) Reply

  • Terry M (11/30/2012 1:52:00 PM)

    For some reason I feel there is more to the poem that you didn't write, but then I have been wrong many times. Any one who reads your poem will be more thoughtful of motherhood. Thanks for sharing it with us all. (Report) Reply

Read all 25 comments »

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