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Poetry Friday: Updike's "Saying Goodbye to Very Young Children"

John Updike died last week at the age of 76. All of the obituaries and tributes have mentioned that he was a true man of letters, writing novels, short stories, criticism, essays, and poetry. The New Yorker's February 9 & 16 issue features excerpts from his wide-ranging work. Plus the magazine has made his classic sports story "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" (about Ted Williams' retirement) available online.

In another instance of a farewell, Updike's short, wistful "Saying Goodbye to Very Young Children" is online at the Poetry Foundation. The poem begins, "They will not be the same next time. The sayings/ so cute, just slightly off, will be corrected." It ends with a reflection on "how this world brave with hellos turns all goodbye."

Go, read.

Wild Rose Reader rounds up all the Poetry Friday offerings today.


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Love the "Saying Goodbye" poem. Thanks for sharing it, Susan!

You're welcome, Jama. A friend linked to that poem at Facebook, and I thought, Aha! Perfect for Poetry Friday, and bookmarked it.

Susan, that Updike Thank you. I had never read that. I'm going to send it to a friend.

I'm generally not an Updike fan, but every once in a while he surprises me with something I LOVE. Wow, that's a good poem. Thanks for linking to it, Susan!

Thanks for the Updike poem - it will remind me to slow down and listen to my boys today instead of rushing on into the future...

New appreciation for the people who knew me from the start, when I was zero. New joy in having known hundreds of children before they were completely adult-erated.

Jules, you're welcome. I'd never heard it either. Adrienne, I haven't tried reading any of Updike's novels in a long time; always felt too young for them, or something. I was not drawn in. Schelle, me, too! Mary Lee, some nice lines in there, aren't they?

Wow, I hadn't seen that one. Thank you! It's great. There are things of Updike's I can't stand reading, and other things that just sweep me off my feet.

Karen, yep, this is a keeper, isn't it?

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