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.

11 responses to “A Poem for Ronan by Naomi Shihab Nye

  1. Audrey Marcus Berkman

    Absolutely stunning in its beauty and truth. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. Gorgeous. I am stunned by the terrible beauty. And missing you, Emily, and Rick and Ronan. Holding you three in my heart.

  3. Beautiful. I wish that Ronan’s sickness was not the source of such grace, and that losing him sooner than we want wasn’t the catalyst for this outpouring of connection and community. “People who never met you, anything. And there is nothing to do”, so true.

  4. This is just so outrageously beautiful; I read it without taking a breath.

  5. Already, Ronan is inspiring more beauty than anyone could have dreamed of. His life is blooming beyond mom and dad, friends and family, with more clarity than the most profound symphony. Lives are changing as they listen.

  6. I will add my voice to the choir: beautiful. Thank you for sharing this poem. She is a gifted poet indeed.

  7. Monica Gettleman

    Just beautiful.


  8. Heartbreakingly gorgeous.

  9. What a gift to be taught and know by such a luminary. I first read her poetry in college.

    How resonate and truthful. Breath-taking.

  10. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/naomi-shihab-nye

    thank you

    Friend and ped. ophth. from Germany

  11. Oh, this is beautiful. Strangers, yes, we would do anything.

    Emily, Rick and beautiful Ronan, thinking of you and carrying you all around in my heart.

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