The Children

By Mark Jarman b. 1952 Mark Jarman
The children are hiding among the raspberry canes.   
They look big to one another, the garden small.   
Already in their mouths this soft fruit   
That lasts so briefly in the supermarket   
Tastes like the past. The gritty wall,   
Behind the veil of leaves, is hollow.
There are yellow wasps inside it. The children know.   
They know the wall is hard, although it hums.
They know a lot and will not forget it soon.

When did we forget? But we were never   
Children, never found where they were hiding
And hid with them, never followed   
The wasp down into its nest
With a fingertip that still tingles.
We lie in bed at night, thinking about
The future, always the future, always forgetting
That it will be the past, hard and hollow,   
Veiled and humming, soon enough.

Mark Jarman, “The Children” from The Black Riviera. Copyright © 1990 by Mark Jarman. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press,

Source: The Black Riviera (Wesleyan University Press, 1990)

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Poet Mark Jarman b. 1952

Subjects Time & Brevity, Trees & Flowers, Youth, Living, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Blank Verse

 Mark  Jarman


Considered a key figure in both New Narrative and New Formalism, Mark Jarman has exerted a significant influence on contemporary American poetry. In the 1980s, with Robert McDowell, Jarman founded and edited the Reaper, a magazine devoted to reclaiming and promoting poetry that emphasized story and image. Controversially warning "Navel gazers and mannerists” that “their time is running out,” the magazine sought to reestablish . . .

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SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Trees & Flowers, Youth, Living, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Blank Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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