A POEM FOR EMILY by Miller Williams
Small fact and fingers and farthest one from me,
a hand's width and two generations away,
in this still present, I am fifty-three.
Your are no yet a full day.
When I am sixty-three, when you are ten,
and you are neither closer nor as far,
your arms will fill with what you know by then,
the arithmetic and love we do and are.
When I by blood and luck am eighty-six
and you are someplace else and thirty-three
believing in sex and god and politics
with children who look not at all like me.
Sometime I know you will have read them this
So they will know I love them and say so
and love their mother. Child, whatever is
is always or never was. Long ago,
a day, I watch awhile beside your bed,
I wrote this down, a thing that might be kept
awhile, to tell you what I would have said
when you were who knows what and I was dead
which is I stood and loved you while you slept.
BLACKBERRIES FOR AMELIA by Richard Wilbur
Fringing the woods, the stone walls, and the lanes,
Old thickets everywhere have come alive,
Their new leaves reaching out in fans of five
From tangles overarched by this year's canes.
They have their flowers, too, it being June,
And here or there in brambled dark and light
Are small, five-petalled blooms of chalky white,
As random-clustered and as loosely strewn
As the far stars, of which we are now told
That ever faster do they bolt away,
And that a night may come in which, some say
We shall have only blackness to behold.
I have no time for any change so great
But I shall see the August weather spur
Berries to ripen where the flowers were--
Dark berries, savage-sweet and worth the wait--
And there will come the moment to be quick
And save some from the birds, and I shall need
Two pails, old clothes in which to stain and bleed,
And a grandchild to talk with while we pick.