Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

The Victims

Poem by Sharon Olds

When Mother divorced you, we were glad. She took it and
took it in silence, all those years and then
kicked you out, suddenly, and her
kids loved it. Then you were fired, and we
grinned inside, the way people grinned when
Nixon's helicopter lifted off the South
Lawn for the last time. We were tickled
to think of your office taken away,
your secretaries taken away,
your lunches with three double bourbons,
your pencils, your reams of paper. Would they take your
suits back, too, those dark
carcasses hung in your closet, and the black
noses of your shoes with their large pores?
She had taught us to take it, to hate you and take it
until we pricked with her for your
annihilation, Father. Now I
pass the bums in doorways, the white
slugs of their bodies gleaming through slits in their
suits of compressed silt, the stained
flippers of their hands, the underwater
fire of their eyes, ships gone down with the
lanterns lit, and I wonder who took it and
took it from them in silence until they had
given it all away and had nothing
left but this.


Comments about The Victims by Sharon Olds

  • Sally Plumb Plumb (4/23/2020 2:08:00 AM)

    Man can’t exist without woman.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Ratnakar Mandlik (9/20/2019 11:00:00 PM)

    The complexities of modern age life like children celebrating divorce of parents beautifully presented. A well deserved modern poem of the day.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Benjamin Uy (9/20/2019 9:53:00 PM)

    A sad great poem about the disentigration of a family,
    Sharon Olds is one of the great Poetess of our dark times, thanks for the rereadings(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Lyn PaulLyn Paul (9/20/2019 6:43:00 PM)

    Strength you must have to have guided you through this journey.
    Peoples lives are affected deeply from this crime.
    I wrote " The Victim" several years ago. about someone fighting this in court.
    People seem to turn a blind eye.

    May there be sunshine in your everyday.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Banamala SenBanamala Sen (9/20/2019 6:30:00 PM)

    A powerful piece about abuse and the aftermath. Depicted by a deft hand!
    Congratulations! You have captivated attention of the readers on a grim and sensitive topic!(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Anil Kumar PandaAnil Kumar Panda (9/20/2019 9:25:00 AM)

    A heartfelt poem about abuse. Loved the way you have inked the story. Thanks very much.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (9/20/2019 1:13:00 AM)

    Now I
    pass the bums in doorways,
    the white slugs of their bodies
    gleaming through slits.................../// beautiful poem shared(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Subhas Chandra ChakraSubhas Chandra Chakra (9/6/2019 4:15:00 PM)

    Beautiful art of poetry..it flows withvthe time and the painful moments that would surround a child with a divorced mother.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Lyn PaulLyn Paul (9/20/2018 4:16:00 PM)

    These words reminded me of my parents separating.
    We were free from violence and no longer needed to fear.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (9/20/2018 1:01:00 PM)

    Being abused! !

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rose Marie Juan-austinRose Marie Juan-austin (9/20/2018 9:43:00 AM)

    Abuses in any form whether domestic, in workplace or anywhere else create a deep impact in an individual, a wound
    that might be treated in due time or will remain and shape the person's character.
    A meaningful poem on a sensitive issue.
    Beautifully crafted and well executed write. Vividly portrayed.10(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Anil Kumar PandaAnil Kumar Panda (9/20/2018 6:52:00 AM)

    A heart touching poem on how one suffers when being abused. Thanks for sharing. Deserved to be chosen as the poem of the day.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Adrian FlettAdrian Flett (9/20/2018 4:49:00 AM)

    This sad poem on abuse by men has some fantastic images in it. 'Nixon's helicopter lifted off the South Lawn' and 'Those dark carcasses hung in your closet'(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Practicing PoetessPracticing Poetess (9/20/2018 2:31:00 AM)

    The point that Ms. Olds makes is, whether it's domestic violence (battery) , non-support, alcohol or drug addiction, molesting the children, criminal activity, or cheating on the wife- - the children are scarred far more if the situation continues and is ongoing, , than they will be if they have the hope of a future without all the abnormality. A well-written poem about unpleasant reality.(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (9/20/2018 2:07:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem having touching expression with nice theme. It is justified to be choosen as the poem of the day.(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (9/20/2018 2:01:00 AM)

    here two glasses fire
    and there holy veins

    burning and burning
    intoxicating minds and burned sight

    under the mountain of opposite Poles
    two insipid souls lonely love to live..............(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (9/20/2018 1:05:00 AM)

    Such a well penned poem by Sharon Olds......................(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Raymond Farrell (6/8/2015 5:35:00 AM)

    Alcoholism is a disease, and it obviously caused great damage to Ms. Olds and her family. Her father clearly needed professional help, and I don't believe he got it. Sharon Olds herself has a lot of unresolved issues herself. This poem is mean spirited and removes the chance of reconciliation with a person, another human being, her father, even if he were to have changed and reformed, and if makes the resolving of her inner turmoil unlikely too. Her turmail may be the source of her poetry but it is not a source of happiness.(Report)Reply

    Victim(2/9/2018 5:20:00 PM)

    Reconciliation isn't always an option, even if her father did get help he will always be that person. Sometimes its best to just forgive and move on without that person in your life

    9 person liked.
    14 person did not like.
  • Charles Jagongo OgolaCharles Jagongo Ogola (11/30/2014 12:09:00 AM)

    A wonderful poem. I enjoyed reading this poem.(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Colleen Courtney (5/15/2014 11:22:00 AM)

    A harsh, truthful piece filled with the power of unresolved feelings. Nicely done.(Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
Read all 24 comments »

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Read poems about / on: silence, hate, father, mother, fire, people, dark, time



Poem Submitted: Wednesday, January 7, 2004



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