Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sharon Olds, Pulitzer Prize-Winner — National Poetry Month

I Go Back to May 1937

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 with the 
wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its 
sword-tips black 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 never 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 blank face turning to me,
her pitiful beautiful untouched body, 
his arrogant handsome blind 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.

by Sharon Olds

Congrats to   the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for her book, Stag's Leap. Read a few more of her earlier poems here.

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