Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
Li-Young Lee
Li-Young Lee
Li-Young Lee was born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents....
More >
Want more poems?
Subscribe to our
Poem-A-Day emails.
Poems about the Future
"Oh could I raise the darken'd veil"
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
After Us
by Nikola Madzirov
Days of Future Dwell
by Samuel Amadon
from Oracles for Youth
by Caroline Gilman
He Foretells His Passing
by F. D. Reeve
by Tracy K. Smith
Untranslatable Song
by Claudia Reder
Poems about the Past
Book Loaned to Tom Andrews
by Bobby C. Rogers
Evasive Action
by Charlie Smith
by Marilyn Buck
Last Century
by Wyatt Prunty
On Becoming a Poet in the 1950s
by Stephen Beal
The Ark Upon His Shoulders
by Forrest Gander
The Cold War [excerpt]
by Kathleen Ossip
The Past
by Michael Ryan
The Present Crisis
by James Russell Lowell
Wedding Album 1977
by Tess Taylor
When I Am in the Kitchen
by Jeanne Marie Beaumont
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print

The Hammock

by Li-Young Lee

When I lay my head in my mother's lap
I think how day hides the stars,
the way I lay hidden once, waiting
inside my mother's singing to herself. And I remember 
how she carried me on her back
between home and the kindergarten,
once each morning and once each afternoon.
I don't know what my mother's thinking.
When my son lays his head in my lap, I wonder:
Do his father's kisses keep his father's worries
from becoming his? I think, Dear God, and remember
there are stars we haven't heard from yet:
They have so far to arrive. Amen,
I think, and I feel almost comforted.
I've no idea what my child is thinking.
Between two unknowns, I live my life.
Between my mother's hopes, older than I am
by coming before me, and my child's wishes, older than I am
by outliving me. And what's it like?
Is it a door, and good-bye on either side?
A window, and eternity on either side?
Yes, and a little singing between two great rests.

Li-Young Lee, "The Hammock" from Book of My Nights. Copyright 2001 by Li-Young Lee. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd.,
Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.