I'd like to highlight this poem by Ada Limón, the US Poet Laureate. It is the first poem in the "Spring" section of her book The Hurting Kind. I love the intensity of the images she gives us, and the tense mix of slightly goofy--the "waddle-thieving" groundhog--and the painful--the barbed wire. She somehow manages to communicate the way tiny things sneak through and give us brief glimpses of joy that we must hold onto despite the presence of suffering. Sometimes we have to reject the pain and laugh at the groundhog munching on tomatoes.


Give Me This

I thought it was the neighbor’s cat back
to clean the clock of the fledgling robins low
in their nest stuck in the dense hedge by the house
but what came was much stranger, a liquidity
moving all muscle and bristle. A groundhog
slippery and waddle thieving my tomatoes still
green in the morning’s shade. I watched her
munch and stand on her haunches taking such
pleasure in the watery bites. Why am I not allowed
delight? A stranger writes to request my thoughts
on suffering. Barbed wire pulled out of the mouth,
as if demanding that I kneel to the trap of coiled
spikes used in warfare and fencing. Instead,
I watch the groundhog closer and a sound escapes
me, a small spasm of joy I did not imagine
when I woke. She is a funny creature and earnest,
and she is doing what she can to survive.

Ada Limón

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