Allyson Whipple – Come Into the World Like That

June 30, 2014 | By | 10 Replies More

After Paul Allen


You can’t grow up spending summers

in suburbia reading about Narnia,

Neverland, Terabithia,

Mount Olympus,

without wondering whether you

belong in reality.


Weekends on the lake

at your grandmother’s cottage

you pretend you’re really

at the ocean, because

you’ve never heard

of a freshwater mermaid.

You’re too young to notice

adults pretend, too—

family is easy,

this is the life,

roughing it is fun.

You’re too young to notice

you can be forty

and still not know how

to take your place in this world.




One February, when home

feels as frayed as your last nerve,

the Texas sunset spends a week

reminding you that

you found something, that

you write poems making love

to the city, that even though

you’re still a little lost,

you have an anchor here

in the shine of the river,

in your tiny, overgrown yard,.


You still haven’t tailored

life to the proportions

of your imagination, but

your supplies are scattered

around the house,

and your heart waits

for desert mermaids.




Category: Knowing

Comments (10)

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  1. A beautiful poem of self-discovery.

  2. Marie Mader says:

    Thought provoking poem….Even as we grow older we still continue to wander, at times, where we fit into the pace of life. Lovely writing.

  3. Mary Orovan says:

    wonderful lines and leitmotif of mermaid works well last line resonant with desert mermaids.

  4. Naomi Shaw says:

    I love the theme of never outgrowing dreams and the sense of wonder.

  5. Aine Greaney says:

    Love this piece. Great sense of dueling places and our place as women within them.

  6. Love this. I was with you at the cottage, in the lake, in my notebook with my poems, searching for my life.

  7. Beautiful poem of dreaming and searching.

  8. Beatriz says:

    Lovely poem! I really relate to this!

  9. Jill Coyle says:

    Excellent poem! Love how you play with your relationship to “place” in this!

  10. BethAnne Kapansky says:

    “You’re too young to notice you can be forty and still not know how to take your place in this world.” What a powerful sentiment. I really enjoyed the reflections from a child who sees the world through the eyes of imagination coupled with the wisdom of an adult who sees the rich complexity and ambiguity of life. Thank you!

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