Time To Go Home

But why, Daddy?


Well, sometimes it is just time to go;

There are, after all, things in life

Aside from swings and merry-go-rounds,

And, even though there is no small amount of appeal

To staying at this playground (it is one

Of those late September days where the sunshine

And the southerly breeze belie the harsh truth

Of the hundred days of hard winter ahead),

There are limbs divorced from dead trees

To move to the brush pile, birdseed to be swept

From porches to deliver groundhogs and squirrels

From temptation—any number of chores

To be done, lists to be checked.


But, Daddy, why?


He thinks out loud that a three-year-old needs a nap,

But there is more to it, certainly;

This is one of those old school playgrounds,

The ground beneath swings and see-saws covered with gravel

Which, in the mere instant it takes to look away,

Can bring forth screams and a virtual river of blood,

And beyond the schoolyard, back roads with crumbling berm

Where some drunk potentially careens around every corner,

And yet farther off still, dark hills as old as time itself

Where rattlers lie just off the pathways, and coyotes and bobcats as well

If you believe the stories the old-timers tell,

And apropos of nothing in particular, the boy yells


I don’t love you!


Yes, but I love you, and the child looks up

In pure bewilderment and mute incomprehension

That such a thing would be a possibility

In the face of such pure determination and fury.


8 thoughts on “Time To Go Home

  1. wow! this is overwhelming with images…the story in my head…Ive created a million a minute in the time reading this poem…If you feelcomfortable I would love to know the inspiration for this…if not…no worries!

    I dig your work,and am glad I stopped by!


  2. I’ll be honest…I don’t remember what brought this one on. I know my mother once had to come and carry me home from school (a good solid mile and change) on time when I fell off a merry-go-round and cut myself up something fierce, so that could have been the basis for the piece.

  3. You’ve captured the feeling of this so well. Even the part of the child telling his parent ‘I don’t love you’ and the parent saying they love them anyway. Great imagery all through this piece..

  4. I’m so glad I got the chance to read this poem, as I don’t remember seeing it before. Your words convey all the determined love of a parent in the face of youthful incredulity, that cannot see past the present day.

  5. This was wonderful top read. A parent’s concern over all the dangers potentially threatening their precious child, the child’s anger, the parent’s assurance of love……..a heartwarming read any parent can utterly relate to.

  6. You don’t have to have children to understand the fierce intensity behind this – the way it’s written makes the emotionality so immediate and real.

  7. i can’t remember ever having read a child from you before… which may only be a testament to my terrible memory, but either way, it looks good on you.

    though this is a delving more into the slow, steady mind of the parent-figure (the preparations to be made against winter, the thinking through of safety precautions having to do with sharp turns and the inebriated, the steadfast love that can smile at childish imprecations), the mercurial kid is clearly the star of the show.

    it’s nice when you can capture those moments when a kid’s mind is blown by something. especially when it’s something as extraordinary as love anyway.

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