Poetry 180

Poetry 180 is the idea that one poem should be shared, at school, for every 180 days of the school year. A list of these 180 poems can be found through the Library of Congress website (or this link) And many of them are real gems, for all ages. This one in particular I remember and would like to share, as Mother's Day is coming up this weekend.... it is by Linda Pastan.

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


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

Copyright 1988 by Linda Pastan.

*Thanks to Billy Collins for Poetry 180! He was the US Poet Laureate when I was in high school and is also quite the poet himself. The first poem of the 180 is his own composition, appropriately titled -

Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.



The Apple that Astonished Paris

, 1996


Thanks for letting me share my favorite poems :)



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