Wednesday, 7 July 2021


Children at Descanso Gardens

by Pauli Dutton

explain to their moms and dads
what the sun means.

Why it shines and why it goes away.
So the flowers can grow,
and we will sleep better. 
Parents bend to listen. 
Yes, yes, they say again and again.

They race to the duck pond,
giggle when the mallards splash,
laugh when they somersault 
with webbed feet wobbling in the air,
then glide across the blue green water
like experienced boatmen showing off.

When I die, I wonder if will I return as a loved child?
Will I have a mother who listens patiently to me?
I listened to my daughter. Her every word,
her little voice, sounds of her clapping, skipping,

bouncing on our bed made my heart sing.
I sang to her and she sang to me.
We still sing like children unashamed.

If I sang my poems would they sing around the earth?
If I laughed my poems would they make bellies giggle
across the world? Can I live as a child now?
Laugh with the dishes, sing with the broom,
and dance with the laundry?

Sundays my daughter skypes from Scotland.
I watch her six-year-old and four-year-old boys
run about the house in their superhero capes,
fall, laughing into their Lego houses,
roar their Hot Wheels and Thomas trains,
wear tortillas on their faces. The baby yawns,
and I know there is nothing more remarkable,
phenomenal, more luscious than this.

Except maybe hugging,
Will I ever get to hug them again?

* * * * *

Pauli Dutton has been published in Verse Virtual, Altadena Poetry Review, Spectrum, Skylark, Mudpuppy, Imaginary Landscapes, and elsewhere. She was a librarian for forty years, where she founded, coordinated and led a public reading series from 2003 through 2014. She served on the Selection Committees for The Altadena Literary Review 2020 and the Altadena Poetry Review from 2015 - 2019. She co-edited the 2017 and 2018 editions. Pauli holds an MLS from University of Southern California. 


  1. What a beautiful and poignant poem. Vivid imagery and language. I wonder too.

  2. Lovely poem! I miss your poems... I HAVE heard you sing and laugh them! You do that so well and it is contagious! I agree the sweet voice and antics are the best in life + hugs! I am happy we have the magic, and you can feel it from afar! Hoping for more! Thank you for writing this touching poem! And happy we all have a nearby natural Paradise. Your Descanso, our Caltech...

  3. Such an authentic voice, Pauli

  4. Bruce Goldberg8 July 2021 at 14:13

    A wonderful poem with deep and meaningful insights clearly and emotionally conveying the exceptional talent of the poet. Pauli has the rare talent of understanding what is good in people and responding with resonance to their sensitivities. She also understands what is truly important in life!

    Bruce Goldberg

  5. I love it. So heartfelt. It brought tears. Praying you do get to hug your grandkids. ❤️

  6. Your poem is so beautiful I pray for you everyday not being able to be with your grandkids and even more not being with you daughter. Love you Pauline