I go back to May 1937

I Go Back to May 1937

By  Sharon Olds

 

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,

I see my father strolling out

under the ochre sandstone arch, the

red tiles glinting like bent

plates of blood behind his head, I

see my mother with a few light books at her hip

standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks,

the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its

sword-tips aglow in the May air,

they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,

they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are

innocent, they would never hurt anybody.

I want to go up to them and say Stop,

don’t do it—she’s the wrong woman,

he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things

you cannot imagine you would ever do,

you are going to do bad things to children,

you are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of,

you are going to want to die. I want to go

up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,

her hungry pretty face turning to me,

her pitiful beautiful untouched body,

his arrogant handsome face turning to me,

his pitiful beautiful untouched body,

but I don’t do it. I want to live. I

take them up like the male and female

paper dolls and bang them together

at the hips, like chips of flint, as if to

strike sparks from them, I say

Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.

*

For a literary analysis of this poem, read:

http://rebellionbegins.blogspot.com/2012/03/analysis-of-sharon-olds-i-go-back-to.html

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About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
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