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The Monday Poem > "To A Daughter Leaving Home" by Linda Pastan (3rd August 2015)

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message 1: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving
goodbye.

Linda Pastan

Source:http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/to-a-d...


message 2: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments Sorry for the delay!

I've chosen this because I am reading Unless at the moment, which explores the emotions felt by a mother who has "lost" her daughter. This poem to me is deeper than you first think, as it reminds you of the thrill, the anxiety, the pride in watching your child first ride a bike, but it's also about that child's first step towards independence, and a life not tied to you any more. I find it simple, yet so poignant.


message 3: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Wonderful Shirley! I like the "more breakable / with distance" especially. I definitely read the poem as you do. A touching poem!


message 4: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments The poem captures the moods of mother and daughter very well. However, the mother's feelings are amplified and that is justice done to the title of the poem.


message 5: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13414 comments Mod
Great Shirley. My children are both teen agers, and sometimes I say that I'm counting the days to see them going. But I'm not at all certain of how I'll feel when they go away for real!


message 6: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ Beautiful Shirley. Brings back those bittersweet moments.


message 7: by Gill (last edited Aug 06, 2015 12:26PM) (new)

Gill | 5720 comments as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,


Shirley, there is so much that I like about this poem. The above is just one of the examples.

My mother died when I was in my 40s, and I always found it a bit funny that she still saw me as a 'child', well I guess as a daughter. My daughter is 40 later this year, and now I understand how my Mum felt about me!

You want them to grow up and be independent, but it still is difficult when they do!

Thanks a lot for this, Shirley.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed this poem. I don't have children but I am very much an independent daughter and this makes me think about my dad (my mum died when I was young so he was both for my teenage years!). I know I will always be his little girl!


message 9: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11958 comments Mod
This is a lovely poem, I first saw it on facebook when a friend's daughter left for university. Thanks for posting. :)


message 10: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13414 comments Mod
Gill wrote: "as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,


Shirley, there is so much that I like about this poem. The above is just one of the examples.

My mother died when..."


How do I agree with what you say Gill!!!


message 11: by Susie (new)

Susie | 179 comments Alannah wrote: "This is a lovely poem, I first saw it on facebook when a friend's daughter left for university. Thanks for posting. :)"

My initial reaction was what perfect timing with so many parents preparing to send their children off on new adventures, whether 1st day of kindergarten or off to college.

It really resonates with what parents go through in their role to guide and support their children towards independence, knowing the loss that lies ahead as they let go so their children can make their own, best way in the world.

I love the pure joy illicited in these lines, and the vivid picture it paints...

"pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you..."

And then the abrupt change in emotion as she sees it as waving goodbye...

This is a good one...Thanks for posting! :)


message 12: by Ann (new)

Ann I loved this poem. The poet packs so much into just a few lines. Very evocative. What a gift it is to be able to do that.


message 13: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments Thanks for all your comments, I just love the last line about the handkerchief waving goodbye. It seems to say so much.


message 14: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Shirley, I am catching up on posts after my vacation and just read this poem. I love the way the author uses the images of teaching her daughter to ride a bike to symbolize the whole growing up experience. Great choice!


message 15: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Such a wonderful poem Shirley! So far all the poems I read by Pastan seem so precise yet subtle in capturing an essence of an emotion or a moment. And so tender too.


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