Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

The Unborn

Poem by Sharon Olds

Sometimes I can almost see, around our heads,
Like gnats around a streetlight in summer,
The children we could have,
The glimmer of them.

Sometimes I feel them waiting, dozing
In some antechamber - servants, half-
Listening for the bell.

Sometimes I see them lying like love letters
In the Dead Letter Office

And sometimes, like tonight, by some black
Second sight I can feel just one of them
Standing on the edge of a cliff by the sea
In the dark, stretching its arms out
Desperately to me.


Comments about The Unborn by Sharon Olds

  • Keith BrownKeith Brown (4/23/2020 2:31:00 AM)

    This is another of your poems worthy of poem of the day(Report)Reply

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  • Sally Plumb Plumb (4/23/2020 2:04:00 AM)

    I love songs about babies.(Report)Reply

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  • Alem Hailu G/kristosAlem Hailu G/kristos (11/23/2017 11:46:00 PM)

    The way you crated the poem is amazing.It conjures the image in one's mind(Report)Reply

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  • Lawanya WijesekaraLawanya Wijesekara (6/20/2016 12:35:00 PM)

    i love this poem....feel I've been there with the same feeling

    And sometimes, like tonight, by some black
    Second sight I can feel just one of them
    Standing on the edge of a cliff by the sea
    In the dark, stretching its arms out
    Desperately to me.

    .... and our arms seem
    too short....
    to reach out
    to catch the hand held
    with hope...

    just a
    little too short..(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kim BarneyKim Barney (11/29/2014 11:29:00 AM)

    Amazing poem. I love it and am adding it to my favorite poems list. Will read more of your poems, Sharon.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Jayatissa K. LiyanageJayatissa K. Liyanage (11/29/2014 10:04:00 AM)

    Its a wonderful poem. Its more wonderful to get a feeling about your heart, Sharon. A heart filled with compassion only can write poems like this. You did it. Thanks for sharing. Full marks!(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rajnish MangaRajnish Manga (11/29/2014 2:50:00 AM)

    The poem reminds me of those unfortunate societies where a girl child is not welcome, hence people resort to foeticide. This is a very poignant commentary on those unborn babies, unborn dreams, anything aborted before birth. Please accept my sincere thanks.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Colleen Courtney (5/15/2014 11:17:00 AM)

    One of my favorite poems by the poet. So much tender honesty and heartfelt longing. Simply beautiful.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Akila A (12/16/2013 12:35:00 AM)

    Today i got a chance to read this poem and i was stretching out my arms to hold them. A very wam and lively poem. Thanks for the good one.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Tamara Likhach (12/3/2013 7:46:00 AM)

    Just my feelings for many years. As in my dreams.
    Thanks!(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kathryn MahanKathryn Mahan (11/30/2013 9:17:00 AM)

    This piece has such deep feeling... very nicely written.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Jasbir ChatterjeeJasbir Chatterjee (11/29/2013 10:57:00 PM)

    this poem gives me the eerie feeling of something waiting to happen, , , something like standing on the edge of a cliff...good write...(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Alistair Graham (11/29/2013 3:05:00 AM)

    The Born

    Babies Puppies Kittens
    In a cuddled state
    Of mind,
    In the strong
    Arms of the law
    Of nature.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ruth Owusu (1/24/2013 6:41:00 AM)

    love this poem,
    it speaks to my heart and i can relate with it.
    love your style of write..(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Nida NawazNida Nawaz (1/24/2013 3:26:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem regarding infanticide.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Leslie Philibert (1/16/2013 2:58:00 AM)

    A brillant poem from an established poet, who has recently been hounoured. She is too good for this site(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Stephen W (1/7/2013 4:28:00 PM)

    I don't think this poem has anything to do with abortion. What are people thinking?(Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Paul Anthony (1/1/2013 8:29:00 PM)

    Wow, no messing here, straight for the jugular. unbelievable. Love it. Love it(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Savita TyagiSavita Tyagi (12/26/2012 9:38:00 AM)

    If words can touch any heart this poem does that.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Alistair Graham (12/22/2012 6:18:00 PM)

    Reminds me of the Buddhist belief of “souls” waiting to be reincarnated into a new body for a new round.(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
Read all 32 comments »

# 300 poem on top 500 Poems

The Unborn Score Card

User Rating:
3,8 / 5 (75 votes)32



What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: sometimes, summer, children, sea, dark, love, child



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Saturday, November 19, 2011


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