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Brave Hellos Turning All Goodbye

Today is John Updike’s birthday.

Today a friend presented me with a little gift of one of Updike’s poems. It reminded me again how important now is. I knew that, of course, but one must always be reminded of it; one counts on one’s friends for that.

So, here is the poem, retyped for the pleasure of it, but available also here:

Saying Goodbye to Very Young Children

They will not be the same next time. The sayings

so cute, just a little off, will be corrected.

Their eyes will be more skeptical, plugged in

the more securely to the worldly buzz

of television, alphabet, and street talk,

culture polluting their gazes’ dawn blue.

It makes you see at last the value of

those boring aunts and neighbors (their smells

of summer sweat and cigarettes, their faces

like shapes of sky between shade-giving leaves)

who knew you from the start, when you were zero,

cooing their nothings before you could be bored

or knew a name, not even your own, or how

this world brave with hellos turns all goodbye.

— John Updike


One Comment

  • Cole W. Camplese says:

    Chris … this was a wonderful way for me to start the day! I made sure I took an extra few minutes to share time with my little ones before heading to work today.

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