Monday, April 19, 2010

A Mongoloid Child Handling Shells on the Beach

Richard Snyder (1925 - 1986)

She turns them over in her slow hands,
as did the sea sending them to her;
broken bits from the mazarine maze,
they are the calmest things on this sand.

The unbroken children splash and shout,
rough as surf, gay as their nesting towels.
But she plays soberly with the sea's
small change and hums back to it its slow vowels.

I know "Mongoloid" isn't PC any more but it was perfectly acceptable in 1971 when this poem was written, and nothing derogatory is meant by it. In fact, I sense a deep affection for the child in this poem, and wonder if she was the poet's granddaughter.

I know I promised more Donne for today, but on Saturday I got word that my sister's second bone marrow transplant will be this Wednesday, and Eldest Daughter and I are leaving tomorrow to drive to Houston to spend a few weeks with her. I'll have very limited internet access while I'm gone, so I don't think I'll be able to post much more this month.


  1. Will keep you and yours in our prayers....

    sweet descriptive verse, too.

  2. I thought it was the sweetest poem... I did not think of Mongoloid in bad light either, it was simply perfect.

    And yes, whenever you can, FEED US DONNE, I know nothing from him.

    1. Silvia, I created a John Donne tag just for you:

      Start at the bottom and read up, because some of those are part of a series I did while I was reading a biography on him.

      Alas, I see that I never finished the series, and I never posted the Easter cycle I promised to do for 2012. I'm worse about keeping promises than I thought I was!

    2. Oh, I thought that would automatically create a link. Try this: John Donne


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