Poetry Friday: “Cross” by Margaret Hasse

Penny Parker Klostermann has the Poetry Friday Roundup today!

back to school shopping

It’s back to school season, and every where I go back to school shopping is taking place. For once, I am glad to be an empty nester, because not only do I detest shopping in general, but I these particular kind of  shopping excursions fell into a whole other category of  loathing.  Once the kids got older, with definite ideas about everything from shoes to types of pens to where we should shop, back to school shopping became all the more exhausting and excruciating.

Arguments.  So. Many. Arguments.

Compromises.  So. Many. Compromises.

This poem, featured on The Writer’s Almanac the other day, touched a nerve and brought those back to school shopping expeditions back to mind.  I see many “grand annoyers” out there in the stores these days…and I am, for once, glad to have move beyond this stage.


At concerts that I did not want to attend with my mother,
I learned to practice any number of nuisances possible in a
place of silence. I wore a cross to vex my mother, a Unitarian,
then ran the pendant back and forth along my necklace chain
like a loud zipper. During a pianissimo passage I unwrapped
waxy paper from a caramel, then coughed as if feathers tickled
my throat.

I’m paying for past trespasses now.

(you can rest the rest of the poem here.)


22 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Cross” by Margaret Hasse

  1. Oh my, this poem makes me so glad to be out of that stage. Except that adult child who lives with us. I should write a poem about her.

  2. I happened to be at Target last week, & alas needed a pen. You’re right, a lot of “back & forth” was happening, mothers with lists in hand, children saying emphatically, “I want this one!” I’m glad to be over it, and just get to take the grandchildren who are grateful for whatever I do. Hard to take those harsh words in the poem, tough to grow up, too.

  3. They are not pretty years… mine were made tolerable because my mom pre-warned me that they would happen – like transition in labor is made easier and managable when you know it will come.

  4. My kids may have been insisting on a certain pen or binder, but I never heard them – I was so busy buying my own. LOVE school supplies. But teenagers and shopping in general – ugh and oof!

  5. I smiled when I read this one earlier in the week. I remember becoming The Grand Annoyer, but now they ask me all kinds of parenting questions, and want to hear more about themselves as babies.

  6. The kid in the quoted poem–I could just hear his testy tone of voice, especially in the last line “what’s your problem.” I admit I don’t miss school clothes shopping, but must stay well away from the school supplies as i myself am too tempted. I love notebooks, stickies, pens, desk gadgetry of all kinds!

  7. ha! Yes, so many arguments….so many compromises. And yet, yesterday I had to dash out of school to find the “right” rubber stamp for an NJHS activity. And, in the middle of the craft store I got weepy looking at a rack of frilly dress up dresses. My kids have grown up and that rack of dresses is not for me to peruse. Sigh.

  8. Ha! Growing up is tough. Being a parent is tough. I’ve found something to love in all the ages and stages so far… and something to challenge me! May it always be so. Thank you for the poem! xo

  9. I’m living the “grand annoyer” reality with one of my teens, but not the other. Your take on school shopping – and really everything during these years:
    “Arguments. So. Many. Arguments.
    Compromises. So. Many. Compromises.” is spot on. Thanks for sharing, Tara! =)

  10. Penny, thanks for including my poem on your blog. I got a kick out of the comments from your many readers and fans. Annoyed or Annoyer, what comes around seems to go around. Best, xoMargaret Hasse, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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