A part of being a parent, it seems, is spending too much time fearing the worst. Here Berwyn Moore, a Pennsylvania poet, expresses that fear--irrational, but exquisitely painful all the same.
Driving to Camp Lend-A-Hand
for Emma Grace
The day we picked our daughter up from camp,
goldenrod lined the road, towheaded scouts
bowing on both sides, the parting of macadam
as we drove, the fields dry, the sky lacy with clouds.
A farmer waved. A horse shrugged its haughty head.
We stopped for corn, just picked, and plums and kale,
sampled pies, still warm, and tarts and honeyed bread.
Sheets on a line ballooned out like a ship's sail.
Time stopped in those miles before we saw her.
For eight days we hadn't tucked her in or brushed
her hair or watched her grow, the week a busy blur
of grown-up bliss. It came anyway, that uprush
of fear--because somewhere a child was dead:
at a market, a subway, a school, in a lunatic's bed.
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 2006 by Berwyn Moore, whose most recent book of poetry is "Dissolution of Ghosts," Cherry Grove Collections, 2005. Poem reprinted from "Nimrod International Journal of Poetry and Prose," Vol. 49, no. 2, by permission of Berwyn Moore. Introduction copyright (c) 2008 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:
- The Ted Kooser Page: Links to online Interviews, Recordings, Poetry, Prose, Reviews, Photos and more;
- American Life in Poetry #166: R. S. Gwynn;
- American Life in Poetry #165: Robert Bly;
- American Life in Poetry #164: Ellen Bass;
- American Life in Poetry #149: Linda Pastan;
- American Life in Poetry #146: Marvin Bell;
- American Life in Poetry #107: Naomi Shihab Nye;
- American Life in Poetry #70: Sharon Olds;
- American Life in Poetry #68: Wendell Berry;
- American Life in Poetry #26: Claudia Emerson;
- More from American Life in Poetry >>>