Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
Want more poems?
Subscribe to our
Poem-A-Day emails.
FURTHER READING
Poems About Birth and Parenting
A Woman Waits for Me
by Walt Whitman
Acrobat
by Elise Paschen
After Making Love We Hear Footsteps
by Galway Kinnell
Before the Birth of One of Her Children
by Anne Bradstreet
Central Park, Carousel
by Meena Alexander
Curriculum Vitae
by Lisel Mueller
Daughter-Mother-Maya-Seeta
by Reetika Vazirani
Gods
by Michael Redhill
Honey
by Arielle Greenberg
In a Landscape: IV
by John Gallaher
Infant Joy
by William Blake
Lost in thought, the baby
by Rebecca Wolff
Morning Song
by Sylvia Plath
Motherhood, 1951
by Ai
Shoulders
by Naomi Shihab Nye
The Difference between a Child and a Poem
by Michael Blumenthal
The Mother
by Gwendolyn Brooks
The Sick Child
by Robert Louis Stevenson
To My Mother Waiting on 10/01/54
by Teresa Carson
Tract
by William Carlos Williams
Wedding Album 1977
by Tess Taylor
With Child
by Genevieve Taggard
You Begin
by Margaret Atwood
Poems About Sons
A Boy and His Dad
by Edgar Guest
Another Country
by Ryan Teitman
Come Up From the Fields Father
by Walt Whitman
Epigrams: On my First Son
by Ben Jonson
Fishing in Winter
by Ralph Burns
Like Him
by Aaron Smith
Odysseus to Telemachus
by Joseph Brodsky
On My First Son
by Ben Jonson
The Bee
by James Dickey
With Kit, Age 7, at the Beach
by William Stafford
Yesterday
by W. S. Merwin
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print

Goodnight Moon

 
by James Arthur

I used to be as unsentimental as anyone could be.
Now I’m almost absurd, a clown, carrying you on my shoulders
around and around Palmer Square, through the cold night wind,
as stores lock up, and begin closing down. Goodnight,

fair trade coffee. Goodnight, Prada shoes. Goodnight soon,
my little son. You’re a toothy, two-foot-something sumo—a giddy,
violent elf—jabbing your finger at the moon, which you’ve
begun noticing in the last week or two. Moom, moom—for you,

the word ends with a mumming, as it begins. For me, beginnings
and endings are getting hard to tell apart. There was
another child your mom and I conceived, who’d now be reading
and teaching you to read—who we threw away when he or she

was smaller than a watermelon seed. The chairs, the domestic bears,
the clocks, the socks, the house—once again a strange cow
springs from the green ground, beginning the enormous leap
that will carry her above the moon.
About this poem:

"I became a father two years ago, and parenthood seems to have opened new emotional currents in me, which are working their way into my writing. This poem of course takes its title from Margaret Wise Brown’s beautiful book for children, Goodnight Moon, published in 1947. My wife and I have been reading the book to our son, Henry."

—James Arthur






Copyright © 2013 by James Arthur. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 17, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.
Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.