Thursday, May 12, 2022

Poetry on Thursday

I wonder if you had hoped that I would forget about Poetry after April was over? (Not likely!) I've just read some excerpts from Ada Limón's new book of poetry, The Hurting Kind, and was deeply moved so I wanted to share while I wait for my own copy of the book to arrive. 

This is from the fifth stanza of the poem entitled "The Hurting Kind". It's a long poem with six stanzas, so I'm just sharing one. 


Once, a long time ago, we sat in the carport of my grandparents’
            house in Redlands, now stolen for eminent  domain,

now the hospital parking lot, no more coyotes or caves
            where the coyotes would live. Or the grandfather clock

in the house my grandfather built. The porch above the orchard.
            All gone.

We sat in the carport and watched the longest snake
            I’d ever seen undulate between the hanging succulents.

They told me not to worry, that the snake had a name,

             the snake was called a California King,

glossy black with yellow
            stripes like wonders wrapping around him.

My grandparents, my ancestors, told me never
            to kill a California King, benevolent

as they were, equanimous like earth or sky, not

            toothy like the dog Chacho who barked
at nearly every train whistle or roadrunner.

Before my grandfather died, I asked him what sort
            of horse he had growing up. He said,

Just a horse. My horse, with such a tenderness it
            rubbed the bones in the ribs all wrong.

I have always been too sensitive, a weeper
            from a long line of weepers.

I am the hurting kind. I keep searching for proof.

My grandfather carried that snake to the cactus,
            where all sharp things could stay safe.


Limón, Ada. "The Hurting Kind." The Hurting Kind, Milkweed Editions, 2022.
You can read more about the poet here
It's not the grandfather, the fact that his house has been stolen for a parking lot, the snake, or the horse that spoke to me, it's the idea of the hurting kind. I think that going through the pandemic may have made us all more sensitive to the world’s pains and joys, the natural world and the human world, and the relationships between us all. I once had a person whose opinion I value tell me that they thought Justin was too sensitive to live in this world and I should seriously consider medication for him. I didn't medicate him, but I think I understand the hurting kind, and that each of us might belong to that group from time to time. 
Thanks for reading!


  1. I think you are so right Bonny! And what a beautiful (piece of a) poem. And now I have "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell running through my head (they paved paradise and put up a parking lot....)!

  2. Oh, thank you. What a beautiful, beautiful poem. I know well the hurting kind. I'm happy to make space for the hurting kind (myself sometimes, and others as well) in my life. I've been reading a lot about Ada Limón's new poetry collection, and actually have "finding a copy" on my "to do" list for today. Thanks so much for continuing to share poetry on Thursdays . . . and for this poem - today - in particular.

  3. The thought of rubbing the bones in the ribs wrong? I totally understand that. I suppose I am the hurting kind, as well; I feel things deeply, sometimes physically, and she's found a beautiful way to describe it. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. This poem really speaks to me, Bonny, because unfortunately I am the hurting kind. It's been a huge burden throughout my life, but I had a psychologist tell me that I shouldn't think it was all bad since it meant I had an open heart. I cling to that often, the thought that I have an open heart, but I still wish I was able to close it, at least partially, at times. It's hard to change your basic nature. Thank you so much for sharing this poem.

  5. I think many of us are indeed the hurting kind and it's a tough thing to navigate. Poetry helps.

  6. Thank you for sharing this deeply moving and beautiful poem. I guess I'm the hurting kind, sometimes I feel things so viscerally, but as I've gotten older I've learned that this isn't a bad thing and that my sensitivity is often an open door to another person who is the hurting kind. I want to read more from Ada Limon.

    1. I'm glad that you enjoyed the poem, Debbie. I often feel as if I fit in with the hurting kind, and like you, I've learned that this is not necessarily a bad thing. It means that your heart is open and you are empathetic.

  7. What a beautiful stanza. I had a small book of her poems recently. I wonder if as I age, I feel things more deeply.


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