Friday, December 17, 2010



A baby turns six, begins devoting
hours to training. Here is how to assemble
a bow from shoelaces. Because
this world is made of things that break apart
and then pile up, we learn numbers.
We sing the litany of our alphabet as if it
had narrative, and when it ends,
we sing it again. Each day, we leave school
to walk home. We learn to return
to a house. We fight bedtime, an instinctive
stalling before the lapse in action.
As adults, we make agreements about time:
a year working for this company,
another year in which we promise to sleep
and bathe and enter an apartment.
Every twelve months, time topples over
onto its head, struggles to stand.
See how much better we are getting with
endings, we have been rehearsing
from the instant we first lifted our eyelids.


  1. This reminds me of something I read, or heard, or saw once about life being like a sonnet. How we have certain strict parameters but the beauty lies in the creation and what lies between the lines. How we're tamed but not necessarily in a bad way. In comfort. Our minds can wander peacefully.

    I'm bookmarking this one, as my son has just started Kindergarten this year and this poem wraps up so well how I'm feeling about it.

  2. From Therese L. Broderick -- I am very impressed that you are still writing one poem per weekday, given that you may be moving to a new home, or even given that it's a holiday season. You provide a strong example of discipline and dedication, Hannah.

  3. I have never been a willing trainee or an effective trainer. I shall take this delightful manifesto as my writ from here on!

  4. I love this poem! It reminds me of listening to my nephew tell me a story when he was 3. He had no years of academic training in what elements a story must have, and thus, his story had no conflict, no plot: it was simply a list of all the things he loved and believed he would find in a firehouse. It went like this: "Once there was an old woman who lived in a firehouse, and she had a hose, . . .[insert firehouse stuff here] and an ax!"


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