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james arthur “goodnight moon”

08/14/13 , , , , , , , , , , ,

699px-Goodnightmoonjames arthur focuses on the joyous, the everyday, and even the rough aspects of parenthood in his poem “goodnight moon”.  arthur speaks on it to

“I became a father two years ago, and parenthood seems to have opened new emotional currents in me, which are working their way into my writing. This poem of course takes its title from Margaret Wise Brown’s beautiful book for children, Goodnight Moon, published in 1947. My wife and I have been reading the book to our son, Henry.”

Goodnight Moon
James Arthur

I used to be as unsentimental as anyone could be.
Now I’m almost absurd, a clown, carrying you on my shoulders
around and around Palmer Square, through the cold night wind,
as stores lock up, and begin closing down. Goodnight,

fair trade coffee. Goodnight, Prada shoes. Goodnight soon,
my little son. You’re a toothy, two-foot-something sumo–a giddy,
violent elf–jabbing your finger at the moon, which you’ve
begun noticing in the last week or two. Moom, moom–for you,

the word ends with a mumming, as it begins. For me, beginnings
and endings are getting hard to tell apart. There was
another child your mom and I conceived, who’d now be reading
and teaching you to read–who we threw away when he or she

was smaller than a watermelon seed. The chairs, the domestic bears,
the clocks, the socks, the house–once again a strange cow
springs from the green ground, beginning the enormous leap
that will carry her above the moon.

related: two minus one | exploring black fatherhood | driving to the moon

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My nephew loves this book. In fact, before I put him to bed, we have to go outside and say goodnight to the moon and the stars. I really do think that this book prevented him from having a fear of the dark



it’s cool that you actually go outside and say goodnight to the moon & stars…and yeah, i’m sure the book has eased a lot of children’s nighttime fears over the years.



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