I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,I see my father strolling outunder the ochre sandstone arch, thered tiles glinting like bentplates of blood behind his head, Isee my mother with a few light books at her hipstanding at the pillar made of tiny bricks,the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, itssword-tips aglow 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 areinnocent, 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 thingsyou cannot imagine you would ever do,you are going to do bad things to children,you are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of,you are going to want to die. I want to goup to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,her hungry pretty face turning to me,her pitiful beautiful untouched body,his arrogant handsome face turning to me,his pitiful beautiful untouched body,but I don’t do it. I want to live. Itake them up like the male and femalepaper dolls and bang them togetherat the hips, like chips of flint, as if tostrike sparks from them, I sayDo what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Do What You Are Going To Do
Here's an interesting one... I'd be curious to know how much of the poem is autobiographical. Sharon Olds is very private about her personal life, and she has every right to be. Still, it makes one wonder. And this poem leads back to the age old question, "If you could change the past, would you?"