This has been the time of year when parents have said a first definitive goodbye to daughters and sons leaving home for University.

My own first definitive goodbye was almost a quarter of a century ago now, but I came across this poem late last night and felt as though it was yesterday.


To a daughter leaving home

When I taught you

at eight to ride

a bicycle, loping along

beside you

as you wobbled away

on two round wheels,

my own mouth rounding

in surprise when you pulled

ahead down the curved

path of the park,

I kept waiting

for the thud

of your crash as I

sprinted to catch up,

while you grew

smaller, more breakable

with distance,

pumping, pumping

for your life, screaming

with laughter,

the hair flapping

behind you like a

handkerchief waving


Linda Pastan


Poems previously published on this page can be found in the ARCHIVES section of the website.