August 18, 2006 at 11:03 pm 23 comments

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 pyjamas
locks to me like a magnet of blood.

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

Another Ondaatje – how could I leave this one out?!

I came across this poem while looking for something nice to send (in an email message) to a friend who was overworked and tired (at the other end of the world). Just the idea of a hug that would collect all of one’s bones and put their warm neck against you is heartwarming.

To a Sad Daughter – in which he captures so many nuances and revels in the details and his love for his daughter and Bearhug – just this fleeting moment and surge of love. Both wonderful poems.

Some good links on the minstrels.



Entry filed under: Black Mamba, English, Michael Ondaatje, Prose Writers.

Buried 2. Part iv Luthien Tinuviel

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