:::this is the way the world ends:::

Poetry and Parenthood

As the sun was setting outside our hospital room and the four of us were sharing a moment of contentedness I had a moment to look up some relevant poetry on my Poetry.org app (which I highly recommend if your the app using type). I read them aloud but it was hard to get through them without getting misty.


By Todd Boss

to beat the froggiest
of morning voices,
my son gets out of bed
and takes a lumpish song
along—a little lyric
learned in kindergarten,
something about a
boat. He’s found it in
the bog of his throat
before his feet have hit
the ground, follows
its wonky melody down
the hall and into the loo
as if it were the most
natural thing for a little
boy to do, and lets it
loose awhile in there
to a tinkling sound while
I lie still in bed, alive
like I’ve never been, in
love again with life,
afraid they’ll find me
drowned here, drowned
in more than my fair
share of joy.


By Antonella Anedda

I love her fierceness when she fights me,
shouting “Not fair!” Her eyes slitting
like shutters in cities by the sea.
Her life is rife with bonfires—seen and unseen—
fires that burn through the turning years
bringing her to life again, and again, in a miracle of smoke.
This heat gives her a sense of forgiveness—or so I imagine—
she kisses my back, capriciously, when I scold her.
Maybe she recalls the scalpel by which she was born.
Easy, the mark of its slash in my skin.
She rose from my belly as I slept. We’re bound together
by peace, no shrieks of pain, and my modesty.
We’re a canvas by Giovanni Bellini: a virgin and a sweet rabbit.

— Translated by Sarah Arvio


  1. Shotts


    The Frost performs its secret ministry,
    Unhelped by any wind. The owlet’s cry
    Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before.
    The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
    Have left me to that solitude, which suits
    Abstruser musings: save that at my side
    My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
    ‘Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
    And vexes meditation with its strange
    And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
    This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
    With all the numberless goings-on of life,
    Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
    Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;
    Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,

    Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.
    Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature
    Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
    Making it a companionable form,
    Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit
    By its own moods interprets, every where
    Echo or mirror seeking of itself,
    And makes a toy of Thought.

    But O! how oft,
    How oft, at school, with most believing mind,
    Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars,
    To watch that fluttering stranger ! and as oft
    With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt
    Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower,
    Whose bells, the poor man’s only music, rang
    From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day,
    So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me
    With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
    Most like articulate sounds of things to come!
    So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
    Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams!
    And so I brooded all the following morn,
    Awed by the stern preceptor’s face, mine eye
    Fixed with mock study on my swimming book:
    Save if the door half opened, and I snatched
    A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,
    For still I hoped to see the stranger’s face,
    Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
    My play-mate when we both were clothed alike!

    Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,
    Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm,
    Fill up the intersperséd vacancies
    And momentary pauses of the thought!
    My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
    With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
    And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
    And in far other scenes! For I was reared
    In the great city, pent ‘mid cloisters dim,
    And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
    But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze
    By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
    Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
    Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
    And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear
    The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
    Of that eternal language, which thy God
    Utters, who from eternity doth teach
    Himself in all, and all things in himself.
    Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
    Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

    Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
    Whether the summer clothe the general earth
    With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
    Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
    Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
    Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
    Heard only in the trances of the blast,
    Or if the secret ministry of frost
    Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
    Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

    -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  2. Ned

    Great poetry all around. Even though there are of course some lines that don’t apply, the “For My Daughter”, very much reminds me of Claire.

  3. Tobias

    Burgundy Shoes

    We wait for the bus that’s going to Bangor
    In my plaid dress and burgundy shoes
    In your red lipstick and lilac kerchief
    You’re the most pretty lady in the world


    The bus driver smiles, a dime and a nickel
    We climb on our seats, the vinyl is cold
    “Michelle ma belle”, the song that you loved then
    You hold my hand and sing to yourself

    Sun sun sun sun
    Sun sun sun sun
    Sun sun sun sun
    Sun sun sun sun


    The leaves are green and new like a baby
    Tulips are red now, I don’t miss the snow
    It’s the first day I don’t wear my big boots
    You hold my hand, I’ve got burgundy shoes
    Burgundy shoes, burgundy shoes

    — Patty Griffin

  4. Tobias

    If I Had a Boat

    If I had a boat
    I’d go out on the ocean
    And if I had a pony
    I’d ride him on my boat
    And we could all together
    Go out on the ocean
    Me upon my pony on my boat

    If I were Roy Rogers
    I’d sure enough be single
    I couldn’t bring myself to marrying old Dale
    It’d just be me and Trigger
    We’d go riding through them movies
    Then we’d buy a boat and on the sea we’d sail

    And if I had a boat
    I’d go out on the ocean
    And if I had a pony
    I’d ride him on my boat
    And we could all together
    Go out on the ocean
    Me upon my pony on my boat

    The mystery masked man was smart
    He got himself a Tonto
    ‘Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free
    But Tonto he was smarter
    And one day said kemo sabe
    Kiss my ass I bought a boat
    I’m going out to sea

    And if I had a boat
    I’d go out on the ocean
    And if I had a pony
    I’d ride him on my boat
    And we could all together
    Go out on the ocean
    Me upon my pony on my boat

    And if I were like lightning
    I wouldn’t need no sneakers
    I’d come and go wherever I would please
    And I’d scare ’em by the shade tree
    And I’d scare ’em by the light pole
    But I would not scare my pony on my boat out on the sea

    And if I had a boat
    I’d go out on the ocean
    And if I had a pony
    I’d ride him on my boat
    And we could all together
    Go out on the ocean
    Me upon my pony on my boat

    — Lyle Lovett

  5. Tobias

    Hope my additions count as “poetry” but when I think of the birth of my children, these are the lines that I think of….

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