Judith Viorst

Judith Viorst Poems

If I were in charge of the world
I'd cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg.

The tires on my bike are flat.
The sky is grouchy gray.
At least it sure feels like that
Since Hanna moved away.

It is true love because
I put on eyeliner and a concerto and make pungent observations about the great issues of the day
Even when there's no one here but him,
And because

Mother doesn't want a dog.
Mother says they smell,
And never sit when you say sit,
Or even when you yell.

I've had my share of necessary losses,
Of dreams I know no longer can come true.
I'm done now with the whys and the becauses.
It's time to make things good, not just make do.

My pants could maybe fall down when I dive off the diving board.
My nose could maybe keep growing and never quit.
Miss Brearly could ask me to spell words like stomach and special.
(Stumick and speshul?)

Is a clean bill of health from the doctor,
And the kids shouldn't move back home for
more than a year,

I'm learning to say thank you.
And I'm learning to say please.
And I'm learning to use Kleenex,
Not my sweater, when I sneeze.

I wanted small pierced earrings (gold).
You gave me slippers (gray).
My mother said that she would scold
Unless I wrote to say

They let the children out of school too early.
I left the Christmas shopping till too late.
Each day we had a holiday excursion,
Which gave us the entire week to wait in line for

My mom says I'm her sugarplum.
My mom says I'm her lamb.
My mom says I'm completely perfect
Just the way I am.

The answer to do you love me isn't, I married you, didn't I?
Or, Can't we discuss this after the ballgame is through?
It isn't, Well that all depends on what you mean by 'love'.
Or even, Come to bed and I'll prove that I do.

The honeymoon is over
And he has left for work
Whistling something obvious from La Boheme
And carrying a brown calfskin attache case

At three in the morning I used to be sleeping an untroubled
sleep in my bed.
But lately at three in the morning I'm tossing and turning,
Awakened by hypochondria, and gas, and nameless dread,

I'd planned to be Heathcliff's Cathy,
Lady Brett, Nicole or Dominique or Scarlett O'Hara.
I hadn't planned to be folding up the laundry
In uncombed hair and last night's smudged mascara,

Judith Viorst Biography

an American author, newspaper journalist, and psychoanalysis researcher. She is perhaps best known for her children's literature, such as The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (about the death of a pet) and the Alexander series of short picture books. Viorst is a 1952 graduate of the Newark College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. In 1968, Viorst signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War. In the latter part of the 1970s, after two decades of writing for children and adults, she turned to the study of Freudian psychology. In 1981, and after six years of study at Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, she became a research graduate there. Personal Life Viorst lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, political writer Milton Viorst. They have three grown sons: Anthony Jacob Viorst, an attorney practicing in the Denver, Colorado area; Nicholas Nathan "Nick" Viorst, an Assistant District Attorney for New York County, and Alexander Noah Viorst. She received the Foremother Award for lifetime achievements from the National Research Center for Women & Families in 2011. Writing Writing for Children Among Viorst's books for children is the "Alexander" series (including Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), whose narrator is a 5-year-old boy who lives with his parents and two brothers, Anthony and Nick named for Viorst's own three sons. Viorst's book 'Sad Underwear' is a collection of poems that examines a wide variety of feelings and experiences from a child's point of view. Writing for Adults Viorst's books for adults include nonfiction psychology books such as "Grown-up Marriage", Imperfect Control, Necessary Losses, and People and other Aggravations. Viorst is also a newspaper columnist and has written frequently for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and has been a contributing editor to Redbook magazine. She also penned the musical Love & Shrimp with Shelly Markam. The Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati hosted a performance of Love & Shrimp, starring Deb Girdler, Pamela Myers and Shelley Bamberger, in the spring of 1999.)

The Best Poem Of Judith Viorst

If I Were In Charge Of The World

If I were in charge of the world
I'd cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg.

If I were in charge of the world
There'd be brighter nights lights,
Healthier hamsters, and
Basketball baskets forty eight inches lower.

If I were in charge of the world
You wouldn't have lonely.
You wouldn't have clean.
You wouldn't have bedtimes.
Or 'Don't punch your sister.'
You wouldn't even have sisters.

If I were in charge of the world
A chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts would be a vegetable
All 007 movies would be G,
And a person who sometimes forgot to brush,
And sometimes forgot to flush,
Would still be allowed to be
In charge of the world.

Judith Viorst Comments

john Peach 16 January 2018

hi njjbjbbj.jb; j; bb; bjbj; b; jbj; b; j; bj

5 11 Reply
Kyra West 20 October 2018

I read a wonderful piece in the NY Times (I think) around 1968. It was an ink drawing of breakfast between a surly wife and a cheery husband. She with a black cup of coffee and a cigarette, he all bright eyed with a huge breakfast spread. I would love to get a copy of this poem. Thank you for lots of great reading. dnkwest@gmail.com

2 6 Reply
Gail Gurman 28 May 2019

When I was in high school, in the mid-70s, I remember having torn out a poem from a magazine and memorized it. It was called " Some People's Children" and I have a vague feeling that it was written by Judith Viorst, but I can't find it anywhere. Anyone know anything about it?

3 2 Reply

jeanbetancourtartist.com poet-mixed media art- jewelry and your oxymoronic doppleganger… 917-213-6746 jeanbetancourtartist@gmail.com

2 2 Reply
Kyra West 07 May 2019

My husband says we have been married 53 thousand years - sounds like, you, too have had a " good" marriage. When we were first married, you had a poem with a wonderful drawing of a wife (who is not a morning person) across from her sparkling husband. I have looked far and wide with no success so..... If at all possible, I would love to have a copy. As soon as I can, I will buy a copy of your latest.

2 2 Reply
hamish 11 August 2022

great poems

0 0 Reply
Gabriel Oluwalana 25 May 2022

You're awesome.

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 24 May 2022

Judith is one of North-America's most excellent poets. She does not think only, but she does that in real life too. An mazaing beautiful Poetess, I admire best!

1 0 Reply
kimya 03 September 2020

thought ut was funny and crazy and a litle wierd

0 0 Reply
? ? ? ? ? 27 April 2020

Judith Viorst Writes good poems. (I am a child)

4 0 Reply

Judith Viorst Quotes

Craving that old sweet oneness yet dreading engulfment, wishing to be our mother's and yet be our own, we stormily swing from mood to mood, advancing and retreating—the quintessential model of two-mindedness.

The need to become a separate self is as urgent as the yearning to merge forever. And as long as we, not our mother, initiate parting, and as long as our mother remains reliably there, it seems possible to risk, and even to revel in, standing alone.

Somewhere slightly before or after the close of our second decade, we reach a momentous milestone—childhood's end. We have left a safe place and can't go home again. We have moved into a world where life isn't fair, where life is rarely what it should be.

Adolescence involves our nutty-desperate-ecstatic-rash psychological efforts to come to terms with new bodies and outrageous urges.

A normal adolescent is so restless and twitchy and awkward that he can mange to injure his knee—not playing soccer, not playing football—but by falling off his chair in the middle of French class.

Close friends contribute to our personal growth. They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there.

If we are the younger, we may envy the older. If we are the older, we may feel that the younger is always being indulged. In other words, no matter what position we hold in family order of birth, we can prove beyond a doubt that we're being gypped.

We have to divide mother love with our brothers and sisters. Our parents can help us cope with the loss of our dream of absolute love. But they cannot make us believe that we haven't lost it.

We will have to give up the hope that, if we try hard, we somehow will always do right by our children. The connection is imperfect. We will sometimes do wrong.

Because we believe ourselves to be better parents than our parents, we expect to produce "better" children than they produced.

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