Thursday, August 23, 2012

Beginnings Also Mean Goodbyes

                     Poetry Friday this week is at Dori Reads with Doraine Bennett.  Thanks to her, we are able to enjoy everyone's posts this week.  Thanks for hosting Dori!

I’m still writing goodbye poems for a personal project about different ways of looking at children (mine, others, and grandchildren, too) growing up.  I’ve chosen to do a series of poems at different stages in children’s lives, essentially saying goodbye each time.  I want to put them together in a book with pictures at the particular stage I am describing in the poem.  I love telling stories through poetry, and I love poems of goodbye, so I thought this would be a good way to combine both passions.  Someday I hope to put it all together in a book for my family.   Here is my most recent one, about my grandson Carter.

From fields of childhood,
hop the fence
and then you will be there,
middle school,
a world of your own.
Always summer there,
with slamming lockers
and clanging bells,
assembly line lunches where
I hope that most of the food
won’t kill you, at least on the days
before tests,
for teachers on whom you must depend
on their own hope for tomorrow.
And for friends, that surround with
crazy words and shoulder slams,
heys for the mornings.

Gather the seeds for another day,
for this new world. 
Your roots are deep.
Now at eleven, leafy growth
But as you grow you’ll learn to hate
the wicked flowers,
to stomp the growth of cruelty
when needed. 
You’ll choose roses.

I miss the boy who played
with Fisher Price adventure people,
and Matchbox cars,
fighting the bad,
righting the wrongs.
Your adventures today
are not plastic, but real.
If I could, I would keep
you safe, but
the fence waits.
You’ll find more seeds in
your pants pockets.


  1. Ah, yes:
    "If I could, I would keep
    you safe, but
    the fence waits."

    Wistful sigh. (I am sending one to middle school this year myself.)

    1. I love your words "wistful sigh" Tabatha. That's how I feel, too. Best wishes!

  2. So much to love here... "You'll choose roses" and "Your adventures today/are not plastic, but real" speak to me today. Thank you, Linda, for sharing this wonderful project.

    1. Thanks Irene. It's been a good project to have along the way, & I respond when inspired by a date, a photo, & ? It's a thread that is interesting to me in my life right now.

  3. One of my favorites from the project! Love all the sensory detail, the wistful reflections as your son leaps that first fence to leave bits of childhood behind. Wonderful pic, too, love those green goggles :).

    1. Thank you Jama. Just an FYI-it is my grandson, not my son. And as Tabatha wrote, too, 'wistful' is the word when time moves us along.

    2. Yes, I meant grandson. Too early in the morning . . . :)

  4. Thanks for sharing, Linda. I LOVE that last line - every child heading to middle school needs the hidden belief that someone else believes in them, and that they can believe in themselves - those seeds in the pants pocket yet to bloom into something wonderful!

    1. You are right, Robyn. I taught the middle school students for a along while, & it's important to have that permission/ability/inspiration to bloom. Now it's what I hope for all the different ages I work with, but especially this time for my grandson. Thanks.

  5. That little boy he was will still be there in the man he becomes. You and his parents taught him well!

    1. Yes, I know. And that's a good thing. Thanks, Mary Lee.

  6. GAH! Linda, you caught me off guard and now I'm all weepy. These past few days I've already been wistful about my two-year-olds growing too fast, and your lovely poem just brought it home even more. Sniff. What a wonderful collection you are putting together.

    1. Thank you Renee. Actually, my daughter & I have also been talking about her daughters growing up so quickly (3 & 1 already). We know how you feel.

  7. I have loved every poem you've shared from this project, Linda. Yes, I feel that wistfulness for my middle school grandson, too. Thanks for this.

  8. I'm sending one to middle school next year... and your poem made me tear up thinking about it. He's ready. I'm not sure I am.

    1. And we wouldn't want it any other way, would we? But still it's not easy. Thanks Katya!

  9. Hi, Linda. That "hop the fence" really gets me. We so want to jump over to the other side of adulthood, but we leave so much behind once we make that leap.

  10. Oh Linda, my heart is filled as I read this poem to your grandson. Such knowing and gentleness and quiet aches all wrapped around those seeds in his pockets that would make flowers bloom and make him choose roses each time. Such a treasure, these words.


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