Jeanne Murray Walker is the award-winning author of 8 volumes of
poetry and one memoir as well as a number of plays which have been
performed in theaters across the country and in London. She is an
Emeritus Professor at The University of Delaware, where she taught
for 40 years and headed the Creative Writing Concentration. Jeanne
currently serves as a poetry Mentor in The Seattle Pacific Low
Residency MFA Program. From her home outside Philadelphia
she blogs about the troubling politics of our time, reading and writing,
and the surprising power of stillness. She travels widely to speak
and read her poems in places ranging from The Library of Congress
to Romania, from Italy to Texas Canyon Country. You can find her
papers and letters archived at Wheaton College’s Buswell Library
and at The University of Delaware’s Morris Library. Jeanne has
appeared on PBS television and is frequently interviewed on the radio.
A Note from Jeanne
I’m delighted you’ve stopped by. Please linger a while to browse. Read some poems. Check out my blog and speaking schedule. If you’re near an event where I’ll be speaking, feel free to attend. If you’d like to read my blog click here. We can join forces to work for a more thoughtful world.
Jeanne Murray Walker
TO MY SON, OFF TO COLLEGE
We stand there in our vestibule, me clutching
my car keys, you, your suitcase,
me about to recite the names of apples,
winesap, braeburn, etc., the way poets
recite them, then to chant the names
of poets, too, anything you’ll listen to,
stanzas of lightning from red mouths.
It isn’t loveliness I’m after, I can tell you,
it’s any damn thing that keeps your hand
from pushing that door open. Though you’re
long gone already. And I know it’s wrong,
when the heart has stopped, to pretend it hasn’t.
Like a taxidermist. No, we’re mixed up
with time, my Love, and poetry, as usual,
fails to stop you. You have to go away,
and you may not be back.
I eat one of the apples in your memory,
like a pioneer who’s down to eating seed corn,
the sweet-sour juices running into a future
without you, while a voice tells me
I don’t own you, you were a gift, and
my barbaric unteachable mother heart doesn’t get it,
thinks, okay, fine, so you’re gone now,
you’re that much closer to coming back.