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The Clasp
(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

The Clasp

Poem By Sharon Olds

She was four, he was one, it was raining, we had colds,
we had been in the apartment two weeks straight,
I grabbed her to keep her from shoving him over on his
face, again, and when I had her wrist
in my grasp I compressed it, fiercely, for a couple
of seconds, to make an impression on her,
to hurt her, our beloved firstborn, I even almost
savored the stinging sensation of the squeezing,
the expression, into her, of my anger,
"Never, never, again," the righteous
chant accompanying the clasp. It happened very
fast-grab, crush, crush,
crush, release-and at the first extra
force, she swung her head, as if checking
who this was, and looked at me,
and saw me-yes, this was her mom,
her mom was doing this. Her dark,
deeply open eyes took me
in, she knew me, in the shock of the moment
she learned me. This was her mother, one of the
two whom she most loved, the two
who loved her most, near the source of love
was this.


Anonymous submission.

User Rating: 3,6 / 5 ( 38 votes ) 9

Other poems of OLDS (34)

Comments (9)

'This was her mother, one of the two whom she most loved, the two who loved her most, near the source of love was this.' - Loved the thoughts the poem leaves behind these lines. Loved the comment of Adrian Flett.
i like how olds turns vignettes into verse, into detailed recollections. what is unspoken in this one is the sting of guilt, the regret. but the potential for meanness is in most or all of us if the triggers to it arise. -gk
Open eyes took me! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
'she learned me' Interesting use of the word learned and how the mum 'learned' from near the source of love. This poem drives into that zone or area of that source.
This is a masterpiece by Sharon, no matter how many times your read it, everytime you will feel new experience.
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