In journaling/writing/ poetry

knock me over (poetry interlude)

I heard Sharon Olds recite this poem at the Dodge Poetry Festival. It was both devastating and beautiful.

Read it; I think you’ll know what I mean.

I Go Back to May 1937

Sharon Olds

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the   
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks,
the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips aglow in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,   
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are   
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.   
I want to go up to them and say Stop,   
don’t do it—she’s the wrong woman,   
he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,   
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty face turning to me,   
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome face turning to me,   
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,   
but I don’t do it. I want to live. I   
take them up like the male and female   
paper dolls and bang them together   
at the hips, like chips of flint, as if to   
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.

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  • Sandi
    April 11, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Oh Deb, this is beautiful, and frightening. Tender and awful. Soulful and cautionary. And so many other things. It is haunting me in the way only truth and art can. Thank you.

    • Deb Cooperman
      April 11, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad it moved you. (you know that’s why i share them. and why i so love poetry.)

      It does (as i titled the post) knock me out. So many ways. So many layers.


  • Lesley
    April 12, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    ohhhh wow. This is so beautiful. And horrible. And all in-betweens. It triggers so many thoughts, feelings, memories and worries for me. Incredible!

    • Deb Cooperman
      April 12, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      I know, right? Beautiful and horrible and all the in-betweens. xo