My Young Friend’s Children
They are a fact, they certainly are there
In the mirror, as you comb your beard and hair.
They’re sleeping, but there’s nothing more alive
In the long night of you at twenty-five;
Within you but still out beyond your reach,
A body that you squint at down a beach,
Or the surf’s loot, some bright, discarded toy.
They wake in you today: two girls, a boy.
They come like bad reception, buzzing, blurred,
But they exist, they’re growing up, assured
Of an easier time than yours, however late.
But in their dark well—you at twenty-eight—
They hide; not theories of another world,
But very breathing selves: three boys, a girl.
An Idle Question
Where is my sin?
The hunters’ daybreak fire
Sinks more retrievably
In icy mire.
A monster’s bones
Melt less exhaustively a few miles down.
The long and awful manuscript
That I sent in to God this year is gone,
And those coded illustrations—
All chance, in short,
Of its eventual publication,
Even in heaven.
Lord Christ, praise eternally
To You, who with Your life
Laid down Your memory.
My Brother and Sister and I Ran
To where the lamb was pinioned in barbed wire—
Our feet like sails—the clover like cold fire
Beneath a shuddering sun—the panicked ground
Rearing up while the planet’s rim swept down—
We had to reach the lamb, or he would die,
We really thought—but then he blessed the lie
Our pure excitement told us: he pulled free
And turned his face to him—and her—and me.
About the Author
Sarah Ruden is a poet, essayist, and translator, and a visiting scholar at Brown University. She is the author of Paul among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time, and her new translation of Augustine’s Confessions is forthcoming from Penguin/Random House.