Thursday, November 8, 2007

On poems, cartoons and telling a Truth about Child Abuse

With pained surprise
Men learn that poetry's not just the skill
Of words long dead, but actual You's and I's—
And if you have not learned that yet, you will.
…Christopher Morley
Memoranda for a Sonnet Sequence

Can't help wondering...

what you're wondering about

as you read the excerpt above...

then read the following poem?

I came across the poem in the Library of Congress and it spoke to me with such Truth that I felt the need to gain permission to share it here. That done, I hope it speaks to you as well. Enjoy...

Cartoon Physics, part 1
Nick Flynn

Children under, say, ten, shouldn't know

that the universe is ever-expanding,
inexorably pushing into the vacuum, galaxies
swallowed by galaxies, whole

solar systems collapsing, all of it
acted out in silence. At ten we are still learning

the rules of cartoon animation,

that if a man draws a door on a rock
only he can pass through it.

Anyone else who tries

will crash into the rock. Ten-year-olds
should stick with burning houses, car wrecks,
ships going down -- earthbound, tangible
disasters, arenas

where they can be heroes. You can run

back into a burning house, sinking ships
have lifeboats, the trucks will come

with their ladders, if you jump

you will be saved. A child
places her hand on the roof of a schoolbus,

& drives across a city of sand. She knows

the exact spot it will skid, at which point
the bridge will give, who will swim to safety
& who will be pulled under by sharks. She
will learn

that if a man runs off the edge of a cliff
he will not fall

until he notices his mistake.

Copyright 2000 Nick Flynn.
Reprinted from SOME ETHER,
with permission from Graywolf Press.
A special thanks and best wishes to Nick!
And now, an after word about this small world of ours...
When my daughter learned that I found this poem so memorable and who the poet was, she exclaimed, "Mom, that's the poet the girls and I went to see in Johnstown. We thought he was terrific!" Maybe it's something in the gene's? Or maybe the poet is on to something special?

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

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