For day 10 we’re bringing you another poem from Roger Nash’s Zigzags. “Grandson” is exactly what you need in a poem about grandchildren.
My six-year-old grandson
enters a room by shaking
himself and rolling in like a dice.
More than one person
has placed bets on him.
He doesn’t know it yet.
Out for a walk, his feet
decide where he’s going. He sprints
to keep up with them. Unexpectedly,
sidewalks can slide beneath his sandals
like dog-turds on escalators.
Then he has to run at a standstill.
A grandson is a chance for me to feel
great in tight-fitting
pants long after I’ve gone
and the messiah hasn’t come, yet again.
For he’ll feel good in his jeans
as shining girls walk past him.
He has the gift never to bother
whether doors open in
or out; whether buttons ring
doorbells or red squirrels. He lives
the Golden Rule: leave
when you’re entering, enter as you leave.
My old failures have become
his new hopes: to win
at marbles every time.
If you hoard old failures
long enough, they come back
in fashion, though worn back-to-front.
He loses his parent’s advice
as quickly as school lunches:
sandwiches of words wrapped
carefully in stern paper.
For him, whatever it’s wrapped in,
advice is to be carefully lost.
The torn pillow on his bed
isn’t just a pillow. It’s a back-up
brain that thinks with feathers
while he’s sleeping. As he wakes up,
he sees ideas drifting
all over the room.