Subject To Change

By Marilyn L. Taylor

A reflection on my students

They are so beautiful, and so very young
they seem almost to glitter with perfection,
these creatures that I briefly move among.

I never get to stay with them for long,
but even so, I view them with affection:
they are so beautiful, and so very young.

Poised or clumsy, placid or high-strung,
they're expert in the art of   introspection,
these creatures that I briefly move among—

And if their words don't quite trip   off the tongue
consistently, with just the right inflection,
they remain beautiful. And very young.

Still, I have to tell myself it's   wrong
to think of them as anything but fiction,
these creatures that I briefly move   among—

Because, like me, they're traveling   headlong
in that familiar, vertical direction
that coarsens beautiful, blackmails young
the two delusions we all move among.

Source: Poetry (August 2002).


This poem originally appeared in the August 2002 issue of Poetry magazine

View this poem in its original format

August 2002
 Marilyn L. Taylor


Marilyn L. Taylor attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she earned a BS in mass communications, and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where she earned an MA in linguistics and a PhD in creative writing. She has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Going Wrong (2009) and The Seven Very Liberal Arts (2006). The Wisconsin poet laureate from 2009 to 2010, Taylor also served as the poet laureate . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Marilyn L. Taylor

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Midlife, Living, School & Learning, Youth, Activities, Coming of Age

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Villanelle

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.