Friday, October 17, 2008

POETRY FRIDAY: Two Poems for Daughters

My beautiful twenty-eight-year-old daughter has been much on my mind lately. When I came upon the poem Daughter, written by Minnesota poet James Lenfestey, it struck a cord inside me. I thought I’d post it today along with What Is Supposed to Happen, one of by favorite poems by Naomi Shihab Nye. I included Nye’s poem in a memory book that I made for my only child before she went off to college.

by James Lenfestey

A daughter is not a passing cloud, but permanent,
holding earth and sky together with her shadow.
She sleeps upstairs like mystery in a story,
blowing leaves down the stairs, then cold air, then warm.
We who at sixty should know everything, know nothing.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

What Is Supposed to Happen
by Naomi Shihab Nye

When you were small,
we watched you sleeping,
waves of breath
filling your chest.
Sometimes we hid behind
the wall of baby, soft cradle
of baby needs.
I loved carrying you between
my own body and the world.

You can read the rest of the poem here.


At Wild Rose Reader I have two original acrostic poems that I wrote for Halloween.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Becky’s Book Reviews.


Anonymous said...

Elaine, so funny, I just posted a write up about Naomi Shihab Nye who presented at the library conference last week. I love her work.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Nye is one of the "greats" as far as I'm concerned. You were so fortunate to meet her. I hope I'll have the opportunity to hear her read her poetry some day.

tanita✿davis said...

The other poem on that page -- Shoulders -- was also quite beautiful. If only she had been writing when I was in school! I hope that she is being added to the cannon that high school kids study.

Elaine Magliaro said...


"Shoulders" is another of my favorite Nye poems. I made photocopies of it and put them in the mailboxes of our teachers and staff at my school on the morning after 9/11.

I, too, hope our high school students will be introduced to her poetry.

Annie Patterson said...

Oh, so beautiful. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Helping one to understand the privileges of having a daughter, well-maybe in my next life. Lovely poem.

Anonymous said...

Oh Elaine, these are gorgeous. And I needed them this morning, so much. Thank you!

Sabrina Chia-Jung said...

Dear all,

I happen to see your blog on-line and am very interested in one of the books that you translated, 'Sound of Colours'.

Please allow me to introduce myself briefly. My name is Sabrina, a Chinese teacher in London. My students, who are mainly 'British Born Chinese' are now translating the above book as one of their course works. I really want to introduce this good book to them and therefore on the translation class, I ask them to translate the Chinese context into English(still on-going).

Of course, they haven't got any clue what exactly they are translating. However, I'd be really really grateful if you could allow me to send you my students' work to you (some of them are very talented in translation) and possibly give them some feedback. I'm planning, if possible, when I reveal this book to them about at the end of this term (in the mid Dec) I could also let them know your comment on their 'great' work. And perhaps recommend your blog to them.

I'm sorry that there is no other way for me to e-mail me so I post my longish message here. Hope you don't feel too bothered. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks a million.

My email add: