Poetry Friday: Bearhug

August 5th, 2011

This week’s poem is another Stenhouse staff selection. Chris Downey, editorial manager, picked Michael Ondaatje’s poem Bearhug. “I read this poem years ago in school and it stuck with me,” says Chris. “It resonates even more now that I’ve got a child of my own.”

Bearhug
Michael Ondaatje

Griffin calls to come and kiss him goodnight
I yell ok. Finish something I’m doing,
then something else, walk slowly round
the corner to my son’s room.
He is standing arms outstretched
waiting for a bearhug. Grinning.

Why do I give my emotion an animal’s name,
give it that dark squeeze of death?
This is the hug which collects
all his small bones and his warm neck against me.
The thin tough body under the pajamas
locks to me like a magnet of blood.

How long was he standing there
like that, before I came?

Entry Filed under: Poetry Friday

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