77. When I was young

Rita Dove


When I was young, the moon spoke in riddles
and the stars rhymed. I was a new toy
waiting for my owner to pick me up.

When I was young, I ran the day to its knees.
There were trees to swing on, crickets to capture.

I was narrowly sweet, infinitely cruel,
tongued in hones and coddled in milk,
sunburned and silvery and scabbed like a colt.

And the world was already old.
And I was older than I am today.

In ihrer LBJ-Vorlesung sagte sie 1998 über das Gedicht:

When I was a child, the thing I liked to do most of all was escape what I was supposed to do. That’s I think one of the laws of childhood: to escape what you’re supposed to do. The moments I remember most are the moments I snatched from, times I was supposed to be doing chores, or reading. And this poem, which is a new poem talks about those kinds of moments (…)

One Comment on “77. When I was young

  1. In her book “On the Bus with Rosa Park” Rita Dove dedicated a full section about children and the old days which is named “Freedom: Bird’s Eye View” that consists of poems variously addressed to or spoken from childhood. These range from generic songs of innocence like „Singsong“ and „Testimonial“ („When I was young, the moon spoke in riddles“; „I was pirouette and flourish, / I was filigree and flame“).

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