By Franz Wright 1953–2015 Franz Wright
Before you were I loved you
and when you were born
and when you took your first step
Although I did not know
good luck I want to say

lone penguin keep sturdily waddling
in the direction of those frozen mountains sister
of desolate sanctity
I want to scream
Although I did not know you

I loved you later on
as just a weedy thing
a little skeleton I loved
Both long pre-you a child myself
and as a man in retrospect

I loved and I was there
while they were raping you
I loved although
like God
that’s all that I could do—

Source: Poetry (December 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2009
 Franz  Wright


Franz Wright was born in Vienna, Austria and grew up in the Northwest, the Midwest, and California. He earned a BA from Oberlin College in 1977. His collections of poetry include The Beforelife (2001); God’s Silence (2006); Walking to Martha’s Vineyard, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004; Wheeling Motel (2009); Kindertotenwald (2011); and (2013). In his precisely crafted, lyrical poems, Wright addresses the subjects of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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