I want to teach Emma who is two

By Patrick T. Reardon


I want to teach Emma who is two

to look out this window

at the chaos of yellow and green

on the mid-autumn tree

— not so chaotic when,

from the ground,

she can see the tree trunk,

solid thick, rising up and branching

and branching with myriad leaves,

each one a tiny branch

but bursting with surface

to feed on light and color

to signal the arc of its journey —

and to notice

how it looks now on this cloudy day

and yesterday in the joyful sun

and tomorrow with the rumble rain,

and to feel with her eyes

the touch of the grit

of the mortar and bricks

of the brown wall behind these leaves,

and to see with her spirit

the spirits moving around

behind that wall,

living the arcs of their journeys,

and to rise up

in her connection to mystery

to the heavens to look down

on this city, this world,

to look down

and see the billions of spirits

on sidewalks and forest paths,

on fields and in towers,

each yearning, each breathing,

each hoping amid the chaos of pain

in the arcs of their journeys,

to look down

and be one with those multitudes

— You, Emma, are multitudes —

and one with the world where they live,

the breathing, yearning earth,

as beautiful

as this mid-autumn tree

outside this window,

which is as beautiful

as every thing

in the Cosmos

and as she is.


Patrick T. Reardon



This poem originally appeared at Silver Birch Press on 12.14.21.

Written by : Patrick T. Reardon

For more than three decades Patrick T. Reardon was an urban affairs writer, a feature writer, a columnist, and an editor for the Chicago Tribune. In 2000 he was one of a team of 50 staff members who won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. Now a freelance writer and poet, he has contributed chapters to several books and is the author of Faith Stripped to Its Essence. His website is https://patricktreardon.com/.

Leave A Comment