April 14, 2015

Dear Edward Hirsch,

Hi I’m Lexi, and I’m a freshman in Baltimore, Maryland. My great grandmother Minnie Osher is a holocaust survivor and is 89 years old. She is my role model and she lives in New York so I don’t get to see her very often. I don’t know when it will be the last time I see her, speak to her or make holiday meals with her. It is a scary thought because I love her very much.

Your poem really spoke to me and touched me. I feel like I’m in the moment with you and your grandfather on that bridge. I can see that eight-year-old boy who is so innocent and light hearted to the world. He has no worries; his biggest worry was maybe his cotton candy.

People really take for granted what they have until they lose it. You don’t really think about the moment until it’s gone, leaving only a memory. When you say, “And I remember that eight-year-old boy who had tasted the sweetness of air, which still clings to my mouth and disappears when I breathe.” I feel like this quote is saying that there is youth but nothing can stay perfect forever and ultimately, you just have to let go. That boy will grow up from his childhood, and the cotton candy will disappear when you eat it.  If “that sugary air, that sweet blue light spun out of nothingness” touches the moist mouth it will fade and evaporate into nothing. The cotton candy is symbolic for holding on. I believe that this was the last thing you had with your grandfather, and you were trying to hold onto the memory of it and him.

When looking back at an important memory, you try to recall every detail you saw. I feel like that is what your quote, “it was really just a moment, really, nothing more, but I remember marveling at the sturdy cables of the bridge that held us up” is saying. We sometimes can take advantage of the small things that surround our lives, however, you show that the smallest details on your last walk with your grandfather had such a lasting impact on your life.

What were you feeling when you were writing this poem? Did you feel sad, hurt, or was this your way of making peace with yourself by letting go? Where were you when you wrote this poem? Did you go back to the Chicago River where the bridge was? Did you go back to your grandfather’s house or did you visit his grave?  I can see how important your grandfather was to you in your life, and it has made me realized that I should not take anything I have for granted in my life.  We should always remember the little things in life because sometimes our memories are all that we have left.


Grade 9
Baltimore, MD

dear poet letters