Linda Pastan

(1932 - / New York / United States)

To A Daughter Leaving Home


When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving
goodbye.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Zak Pearce (9/29/2013 1:45:00 PM)

    This is of poor technical quality. No evidence of structure, and poor punctuation. Disappointingly arrhythmic, there is little use of pentameter, and this further emphasises the lack of a rhyme scheme. Usually not such a crime in poetry, but under the exceptional circumstance of there being no other poetic device, you might'v expected Pastan to pay attention to something even the average nursery student can add into a poem! She hides behind walls of pathetic and pretentious philosophy and metaphors to cover up the fact that she cannot write a half-decent poem. Long-gone are the days of Tennyson, Keats, Owen, poets who payed attention to structure and technique! (Report) Reply

  • warner treuter (8/19/2010 4:17:00 AM)

    Builds up beautifully in so short a time, enough to make the eyes water of those who love children and like to see them happy. (Report) Reply

  • Laura Inès Nùñez Cremades (7/18/2010 7:42:00 PM)

    I was deeply moved by your beatiful poem.
    It´s so personal and at the same time sounds in every mother´s heart.
    It´s a relief for me, thank you (Report) Reply

  • Mackie Figueroa (12/15/2009 12:12:00 AM)

    woW! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    it reminds me of my childhood, when my brother's and sisters decided to leave us home to look for their job and my mother has nothing to do but to watch them leaving while crying.

    nice piece. luv 8! (Report) Reply

  • Delsie Monken (1/26/2009 11:11:00 PM)

    Oh! Linda! Such a beautiful metaphor! I imagine most parents have had this experience and saw it just the way you have painted it here. So Lovely. It is one of my favorites since I have found your work. Keep writing and thinking the way you do. You give the finite circle of life such beauty with your words. Keep the work coming for the rest of us to enjoy. Delsie (Report) Reply

  • Yeshi Samdrup (9/17/2008 10:52:00 AM)

    hey a intense fatherly love for the daughter.....lucky daughter....happy for both of you (Report) Reply

  • Emancipation Planz (10/28/2007 1:22:00 AM)

    I too enjoyed this metaphor, amd embellish as to me it is also a strong representation of the cyclic nature of living, learning and leaving... One Peace at a Time.. (Report) Reply

  • Eisha Roy (7/29/2007 1:50:00 AM)

    This poem is really touching. Choosing of the metaphor bike riding is poignant. It touches the finer nuances of mother daughter relationship. i would like to ask the poet the insecurity or anxiety is reflection of poet's jewish background or one should see it more as a girl's sense of freedom in the context of womens's liberation. (Report) Reply

  • Sameena Alavi (7/9/2007 5:05:00 AM)

    its really lovely poem. my mother was very impressed with it. it reminds her of her childhood days. i too think its a fascinating poem describing the strong relationship between a mother and her child. (Report) Reply

  • Not a member No 4 (3/4/2007 10:19:00 AM)

    It's a lovely touching story, but I find it difficult to understand that this is 155 in the top 500 poems whilst Gray's Elegy languishes at no 457. I'm all for accentuating the positive - and I think I've done that in this case - but I can't get on this bus. Sorry. (Report) Reply

  • Grace Hutton (1/17/2007 7:35:00 PM)

    As a daughter leaving home, this poem found a place to resonate. Thank you! I think it's absolutely lovely. (Report) Reply

  • Lamont Palmer (5/23/2006 12:49:00 PM)

    Here's my take: this is chopped up prose and scarcely poetry at all. Its not even 'heightened prose'. Linda should write short stories and essays, which her talents are more suited for, and make some money. Prose is far more profitable. She's cheating herself commercially and cheating readers artistically. -LP (Report) Reply

  • Gina Onyemaechi (2/6/2006 4:46:00 AM)

    Jerry, you speak for me as well. Linda, you are a seriously talented poet. Come on, give us more. (Report) Reply

  • Cj Heck (2/2/2006 9:29:00 PM)

    Simply beautiful, Linda. I have become a fan of your work in only a few poems.
    My warmest regards and respect,
    CJ (Report) Reply

  • Scarborough Gypsy (2/2/2006 8:28:00 PM)

    Oh Linda,

    This is another wonderful work of art. What a marvelous picture you paint and so much feeling and depth. It is great the way you describe a simple bike riding lesson and make it reflect on your feelings of sepperation from our children. I particularly liked the last few lines: -
    'screaming
    with laughter,
    the hair flapping
    behind you like a
    handkerchief waving
    goodbye'.

    Brilliant stuff

    Gyp's (Report) Reply

  • Jane Campbell (1/27/2005 3:23:00 PM)

    My daughter is eleven so man is this one poignant. We teach them to not need us when what we most want is that they never stop needing us. (Report) Reply

  • Nick Smithe (1/24/2005 2:20:00 PM)

    I'm not sure why I liked it...
    but It was good to me for some odd reason

    Nick Z~ (Report) Reply

Read all 20 comments »

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