Letting Go

By Fay Zwicky b. 1933 Fay Zwicky
Tell the truth of experience
they say they also
say you must let
go learn to let go
let your children
go
 
and they go
and you stay
letting them go
because you are obedient and
respect everyone’s freedom
to go and you stay
 
and you want to tell the truth
because you are yours truly
its obedient servant
but you can’t because
you’re feeling what you’re not
supposed to feel you have
let them go and go and
 
you can’t say what you feel
because they might read
this poem and feel guilty
and some post-modern hack
will back them up
and make you feel guilty
and stop feeling which is
post-modern and what
you’re meant to feel
 
so you don’t write a poem
you line up words in prose
inside a journal trapped
like a scorpion in a locked
drawer to be opened by
your children let go
after lived life and all the time
a great wave bursting
howls and rears and
 
you have to let go
or you’re gone you’re
gone gasping you
let go
till the next wave
towers crumbles
shreds you to lace—
 
When you wake
your spine is twisted
like a sea-bird
inspecting the sky,
stripped by lightning.

Fay Zwicky, “Letting Go” from Ask Me, University of Queensland Press, 1990; audio from The Witnesses, Audio CD, River Road Press, 2010: by permission of River Road Press and the poet. Copyright © 1990, 2010 by Fay Zwicky.

Source: Ask Me (University of Queensland Press, 1990)

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Poet Fay Zwicky b. 1933

POET’S REGION Australia and Pacific

Subjects Parenthood, Family & Ancestors, Poetry & Poets, Living

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Fay  Zwicky

Biography

The daughter of a doctor and a musician, Australian poet, essayist, and short story writer Fay Zwicky was born in Melbourne as Julia Fay Rosefield. She earned a BA at the University of Melbourne and trained as a classical pianist, performing with her sisters as the Rosefield Trio for a decade before turning her focus to writing.
 
Zwicky’s poems explore gender, the Jewish faith, and the use and misuse of political power. In an . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Parenthood, Family & Ancestors, Poetry & Poets, Living

POET’S REGION Australia and Pacific

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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