Our Child

Over these many weeks time and again I have listened to parents talk about
the fear they have for their child or children. This fear is not one of the usual fears carried by any caring parent. This is a fear they not only never expected, but one they have no way of offering assurance should the child, too, be abused by the language and recklessness of 45.

I remember feeling helpless in the face of all the inevitable sufferings our daughter would face, staring at her asleep, wishing somehow I could give her the life and world she deserved. That wish has remained–and has amplified.

This past week poet Christine Rhein composed a poem in which she gathered notes written from the immigrants to their caged children. You can find it at Vox Populi.

Not meaning to lighten things inappropriately, but I just recalled that scene from Batman where The Joker laments the attention Batman receives in the Press. Here’s a paraphrase: “What kind of a world is it when a man dressed as the President of the United States gets all my press.”

Yes, what kind of a world is it, now?

Last evening, we were out to dinner. Once again we heard, “Each day I wake up wondering what he’s going to do now.”

Yesterday afternoon I worked with a mother who is putting together a collection of her mother’s poems. Her five-year-old played with our puppy, colored, looked for our shy cat, searched for the frogs around our little pond. We were all in a world we deserved to dwell in. And yet . . .

Our Child
You’re at school learning numbers
and the locations of various geographical
necessities. It’s what you do not know
that takes me to our window where
my sight attempts to rest along
the path our dog follows into the woods.

–Jack Ridl

From be tween (Dawn Valley Press)

Last week I typoed! A new and fascinating collection is Jennifer Clark’s Johnny Appleseed: The Slice and Times of John Chapman. You’ll be surprised.

Three other fine new collections: Kirk Wesphal’s Bodies of Wood and Water, Charlie Brice’s Mnemosyne’s Hand, and Richard Jones’s Stranger on Earth.

Please let me know of recent poetry collections that you would recommend. I don’t want to leave anyone out.

Annual Red Dock Reading
And once again! Please mark your calendars for August 14, 6:30 for The Fifth Annual Red Dock Reading created and sustained by the one and only Tony Amato. I can’t thank him sufficiently. The gently arresting Laura Donnelly will read from her award winning collection Watershed along with new poems. If the occasion echos the past, the dock fills quickly. So come early, bring a chair, enjoy the wonderful view, savor the food and drink, and be kind to Laura and me. It’s among the scariest times of the year for me/us.

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Visit Roan & Black and Cabbages & Kings and Reader’s World to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

And, of course, click here to visit ridl.com, check out what Jack’s been up to, maybe say hi!

4 thoughts on “Our Child

  1. Dear Jack, Thank you for your wonderful columns! If I can’t read them the day they arrive in my email, I stockpile them and catch up when I have the time. I’m not sure I told you that my first full-length poetry collection, Invisible Fish, was published this spring by Dos Madres Press. It has been nominated for the annual literary award offered by The Great Lakes Colleges Association—a consortium of 13 Midwest colleges, Hope College among them. If you’d like to send me a copy, drop me a note at SusannaGlass@Yahoo.com. I’m still so thankful for the opportunity of studying with you several years ago and wish I lived nearer so I could catch more of your wisdom and words. Fondly, Susan. P.S. All 300 of my annotated April Gifts poems (2007-2016) are available in an archive on my new website: SusanGlassmeyer.com

    • Invisible Fish is a remarkable and wonder-filled collection, Susan, a gift to all
      of us who have it with us. And what a deserved nomination–for the GLCA Award.
      Back in the 70s I was one of the judges. And if you receive the Award
      we’ll make sure you stay with us when you come to read at the college.
      I’m soooooo happy for lovely and loving you.
      XXX
      Jack
      PS. I always remember your sitting off to my left as Rosemerry and I
      read to you at Logan! A joy!

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