Monday, April 12, 2010

Poem #12--On the Way Home From School

On the way home from school
I drove past
a very recent car accident.
Pieces of bumper
were scattered
in the intersection.
A bicycle lay on its side
but the cyclist seemed
in better condition than
the driver of the
mangled car.
Emergency vehicles were not there yet
but lots of people were
milling about.

I drove slowly past
thinking about how quickly
a life can change.

Thinking about driving home
to my college dorm
after a day of student teaching.
Driving the
bright green
Chevy Monza
my dad named Kermit.
Working on memorizing a poem
as I drove.
at the 4-way stop at the top of the hill.
Stopping before the last line of the poem.
Saying out loud,
"I have wasted my life" *
and looking up to see
the other car
running through the stop
smashing my driver's side door
changing my life

I no longer memorize poetry
while I drive.

by Mary Lee Hahn, copyright 2010

* Dang. I can't find (or remember) the poem I was trying to memorize. Seems like it had the word Minnesota in it, and the speaker was lounging in a hammock. Sound familiar? I'll keep looking...


Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

James Wright


  1. Yes, in an instant lives can change. Love how you built up to the moment of "impact" with ordinary details. What a scary experience!

  2. Oh my, what a strong picture this poem of yours creates in my mind.


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