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13.Unknown Girl In A Maternity Ward
Child, the current of your breath is six days long.
You lie, a small knuckle on my white bed;
lie, fisted like a snail, so small and strong
at my breast. Your lips are animals; you are fed
with love. At first hunger is not wrong.
The nurses nod their caps; you are shepherded
down starch halls with the other unnested throng
in wheeling baskets. You tip like a cup; your head
moving to my touch. You sense the way we belong.
But this is an institution bed.
You will not know me very long.
The doctors are enamel. They want to know
the facts. They guess about the man who left me,
some pendulum soul, going the way men go
and leave you full of child. But our case history
stays blank. All I did was let you grow.
Now we are here for all the ward to see.
They thought I was strange, although
I never spoke a word. I burst empty of you,
letting you see how the air is so.
The doctors chart the riddle they ask of me
and I turn my head away. I do not know.
Yours is the only face I recognize.
Bone at my bone, you drink my answers in.
Six times a day I prize
your need, the animals of your lips, your skin
growing warm and plump. I see your eyes
lifting their tents. They are blue stones, they begin
to outgrow their moss. You blink in surprise
and I wonder what you can see, my funny kin,
as you trouble my silence. I am a shelter of lies.
Should I learn to speak again, or hopeless in
such sanity will I touch some face I recognize?
Down the hall the baskets start back. My arms
fit you like a sleeve, they hold
catkins of your willows, the wild bee farms
of your nerves, each muscle and fold
of your first days. Your old man's face disarms
the nurses. But the doctors return to scold
me. I speak. It is you my silence harms.
I should have known; I should have told
them something to write down. My voice alarms
my throat. 'Name of father-none.' I hold
you and name you bastard in my arms.
And now that's that. There is nothing more
that I can say or lose.
Others have traded life before
and could not speak. I tighten to refuse
your owling eyes, my fragile visitor.
I touch your cheeks, like flowers. You bruise
against me. We unlearn. I am a shore
rocking off you. You break from me. I choose
your only way, my small inheritor
and hand you off, trembling the selves we lose.
Go child, who is my sin and nothing more. read more »
May I join you in the doghouse, Rover?
I wish to retire till the party's over.
Since three o'clock I've done my best
To entertain each tiny guest. My conscience now I've left behind me, read more »
The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead. read more »
16.There Was A Child Went Forth
THERE was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of read more »
17.A Poet To His Baby Son
Tiny bit of humanity,
Blessed with your mother’s face,
And cursed with your father’s mind. read more »
18.A Child's Garden of Verses
For the long nights you lay awake
And watched for my unworthy sake:
For your most comfortable hand read more »
19.A child is
A child is a house that parents inhabit.
How clear the small objects,
how the toys excite one's pity, little clothes read more »
20.We are Seven
--------A Simple Child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death? read more »
21.A Sad Child
You're sad because you're sad.
It's psychic. It's the age. It's chemical.
Go see a shrink or take a pill,
or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll read more »
On the unbreathing sides of hills
they play, a specklike girl and boy,
alone, but near a specklike house.
The Sun's suspended eye read more »
23.A Prayer For My Son
BID a strong ghost stand at the head
That my Michael may sleep sound,
Nor cry, nor turn in the bed
Till his morning meal come round; read more »
24.A Young Child And His Pregnant Mother
At four years Nature is mountainous,
Mysterious, and submarine. Even
A city child knows this, hearing the subway's read more »
New Child Poems
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- CHILDREN OF PERSIA, Aldo Kraas
- carpe diem