Friday, January 24, 2014

Scorching the retina

It's been a week of heartache and colds, heavy, with a front of humor.

Here's a poem:

Poem Not for My Son

There are things you can't tell
a child -- they'd sit too heavily
upon him, like the crowns
of young royalty:
Tutankhamen holding up
that twelve-pound crust
of gold and emeralds
on his slender neck.

So I gaze at my boy
only when he's sleeping,
when the torrent
won't sweep him off
the cliff, when the beam
won't scorch his retina.

He works out now,
lifting cold black
barbells, his muscles rising
like good bread.

Think of every great thing:
rush of grain
through the elevator shaft,
the crush of water
fathoms down, glaciers
calving, the surge and weight
of tectonic plates. I shut
the door on my love.
Just a faint glow seeping
under the crack.

Ellen Bass


  1. And they are all boy kings, aren't they? In their mothers' eyes?

  2. How sweet that Ms. Bass spoke to both of us this week.
    I've always loved the way you think of your boys - well, I love the way you think of most things.

  3. so this is what finally broke me today not worry about my car or whether the birthday cake turned out or whether my stupid inconsequential gift would be enough this poem is what finally broke (the wall) down in me and my son is leaving soon for his birthday party with his friends then I can go to bed and weep

  4. I am so thankful for the gift of motherhood. That love is transformative, both to the giver and receiver.



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