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

The following post is a revised version of one that ran in 2009. You'll find more links to poems at the Poetry Friday roundup, hosted by Great Kid Books today.

John Updike died two years ago at the age of 76. All of the obituaries and tributes mentioned that he was a true man of letters, writing novels, short stories, criticism, essays, and poetry. The New Yorker's February 9 & 16, 2009, issue featured excerpts from his wide-ranging work. Plus, the magazine 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."


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Wow, I am not usually an Updike fan, but that poem really resonates with me. Thanks for sharing!

You're welcome, Katie. U.'s poem kind of breaks my heart a little; I have felt this many times with friends' children. I think my own kiddo is close by all the time, so I don't notice it in the same way.

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