Daily Archives: December 12, 2011

A Poem for Ronan by Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi was my teacher at UT-Austin, a poet of grace and compassion, a terrific person, a fantastic teacher. I thank her for these words about Ronan.


Little Seal
We would hold you from far, far away.
Seals are slippery, hard to grasp.
We would hold your mother and father –
stunned reckoning swaddled round what is,
what might be,
facts without hands or feet.
You have hands and feet.  Your little hand
resting on your mother’s shoulder,
pure abandon, the way seals
pile on a shore, exhausted, in sun.
How can there be mysteries this size?
Your mother, father, would do anything for you.
People who never met you, anything.
And there is nothing to do.
But carry the stark hauntings of presence and
absence, future absence of all of us,
merged, mixed, as if that watery long deep
were the only thing holding up minutes
and days, swelling change,
and all of us in it together,
awake, asleep.