Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Life is Short

     These recent days in the reign of the 45th US President have given new drama to the word survival.  Looking for wisdom I revisited this poem, a survival-poem with a couple of numbers -- by Maggie Smith -- found at one of my favorite sources for poetry, PoetryFoundation.org.

Good Bones       by Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

Smith's poem first appeared in Waxwing Literary Journal in the summer of 2016.


  1. I found this encouraging, so I read it to my spouse, who found it depressing. These are our times, I suppose.

  2. I think what I like is the balance expressed -- and then a bit of hope at the end.