Tag Archives: poems about children

Since he was weaned by James Goldberg

Since he was weaned, my son’s been hungry for the open sky—
so that now, at eighteen months, he’s a seeker and a maker of signs.

A simple knock at the air
comes first.
It means: open this door
and let me ascend the concrete steps
to that greater bliss and those long lines of sight.
It means: let there be light!
Or, if the light is already waiting, let me rise to it.
Let me bask today.

Then there’s fetching the shoes;
that’s much more forceful.
To bring his own shoes is to say:
I am prepared! And don’t let this journey be withheld from me!
To bring my shoes—yes,
to cradle the massive, worn load of each size fifteen ship
and to dump it abruptly, for emphasis, at my feet—
this means:
the time has come, my father,
and can you deny your own destiny?

If all else fails,
there’s the incantation,
the syllable of power.
The hard ‘g’ means: pay attention!
(in the prophets’ terms: behold!)
And then the long ‘o’ either swells into a
bright sound of hope,
or else drags out long and plaintive:
an aching lament, the age-old burden
(the pain of separation the prophets once spoke).
Armed with this spell, he walks up to me like Moses to Pharaoh.
Go? he says. Go. Go!

When he asks, I am always busy.
When he asks, I have work to do. Feet to rest, and bones.
But when my son struggles for these signs
like a drowning man for air,
who am I to resist?
Who am I not to offer him the sweet relief
of knowing absolutely that he has been understood?

We go outside (I tell myself)
for two minutes. Just two minutes.
But soon spring is thawing my tundra-hard heart,
Soon, we cannot be contained even by the backyard.

Under the concrete of the driveway, garden snakes are stirring.
My son and I see one’s striped body from behind a leaning rock
and I remember my father, who taught me love and reverence
when he pulled our van over all at once and stepped out,
when he carried a snake away from the dangers of the road’s warm asphalt,
when he laid it down safe on the soft ground
one spring. Long ago.

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James Goldberg is a founding editor of Everyday Mormon Writer. He won the 2009 Association for Mormon Letters Drama Award and has had work appear recently in Shofar, Drash, and Irreantum. He has work forthcoming in Sunstone and Dialogue. Click here to read more of James’s writing.

*Competition entry*

Woinshet by Sarah Dunster

Woinshet

Bud of the vine, you came to me.
They named you Woinshet.
Let me see your hand; it is a sweet
soft shadow on mine. You brown ibex, leaping;
your dark eyes will laugh and roll to the side
when a stranger passes,
and your small throat is beating.
A coil, a doodle on my fingertip,
a card of silken fibers standing out on your crown.
You dart away with a quick high skip.
My yearning, and my hand that almost touches–
so close; an inch away, with the promise
of velvet, and the smell of fertile lands
that never lost their families–
They knew your throaty laugh.
Your toes–ten little nubbles–
dug in. You balanced twenty
sticks of firewood on your hip.

Now mine, you run on pavement.
You wear your hair with yellow candy
that clicks with every skip.
You take your weight in water;
water for the vine, my bud. My daughter.

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Sarah Dunster is the  mother of six children, age eight and under. They are adorable, and they bring light to her life, but writing is what keeps her sane.  Poetry has always been the essential way that Sarah connects to her own emotions through writing. In addition to poetry and fiction, Sarah’s hobbies and interests include (but are not limited to), singing, skiing, guitar, piano, environmentalism, psychology, and Toblerone.

For other poems Sarah has published on WIZ, search on her name in the search bar at the bottom of the navigation column on the left-hand side of the screen.

Photo: Emily Dunster, Sarah’s sister, took the above portrait photo of Sarah’s daughter Woinshet to accompany this poem.  Definitely click into the picture for a larger view.

Her Father’s Critique by Steven L. Peck

She painted herself
into the landscape. On
a canvas she had
magicked from deep-self,
April sunlight streamed
from the clouds
in spectacular, uncanny, rays—
immaterial matter,
soul stuff made flesh.

She brought it to her
father who pointed out
how she should have
painted the sunbeams with
more yellow—
pointing to a maudlin
mountain scene,
hung ceremoniously on
a well-manicured wall—
an oil anyone could have techniqued
with hackneyed accuracy. That’s
how it should be done he said, then
turned away.

He missed the remarkable
enchantment of his
little girl capturing light mixed with
quintessence and vital
spirits
spilling onto canvass.

Unable to penetrate
his cataracts,
she spread Platinum White
over the surface
and put down her brushes.

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To read Steven’s bio and more of his poems published on WIZ go here, here, here, here, and here.

*contest entry*