* Originally shared 08/23/16. Thanks to Hannah T. for reminding me how much I love this poem. Resharing exactly as posted before, but edited to link to Maggie’s book Good Bones. Also, Maggie has a new book–Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change–coming sooooooon!
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
“Good Bones” by Maggie Smith (Website, Twitter, Books). “Good Bones” first appeared in Waxwing IX (Summer 2016) and is contained in Maggie Smith’s forthcoming book, Weep Up, Tupelo Press, 2018. (Edited to add: Title of book changed to Good Bones.)
I rarely offer commentary, but this poem … yeah … this poem. I think it sums up so many of our lives, dear readers, don’t you? We are each trying to make this place beautiful though “the darkness around us is deep.” So I was beyond thrilled when multi-award winning poet Maggie Smith offered her blessing for me to share her poem with you all.
If you love “Good Bones” as much as I do, but can’t wait until 2018 to purchase Weep Up (changed to Good Bones), check out this beautiful broadside print by designer Josef Beery:
“This place could be beautiful, / right? You could make this place beautiful.” Thank you again, Maggie. You and your poetry make this place beautiful indeed.