Library of Congress

Poetry and Literature

The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature> Poet Laureate > Past Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry 180 > Full List of Poems > Poem 075
{ site_name: 'Poetry', subscribe_url:'/share/sites/library-of-congress/poetry.php' }

Back to Full List of 180 Poems

To a Daughter Leaving Home

When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving

—Linda Pastan

from The Imperfect Paradise, 1988
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY

Copyright 1988 by Linda Pastan.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. from The Imperfect Paradise. Copyright 1988 by Linda Pastan. For further permissions information, contact Linda Pastan, [email protected]

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Poet Linda Pastan (1932- ) was raised in New York City but has lived for most of her life in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. Linda Pastan is the author of over a dozen poetry collections, including Insomnia: Poems (W. W. Norton and Company, 2015).

Learn more about Linda Pastan at The Poetry Foundation.