three ages


1.

The sidewalk is significant.
Its ridges hamper wheels,
Its cracks harbor meadows
And little things with wills.
It is safe–the street, maleficent.
It is hard–it doles out blows.

2.

The sidewalk barely registers:
Eyes on faces, signs, and lights.
Can you say what bore your shoefalls
As you strode down streets and flights?
Thoughts on larger characters,
You miss the fragile kid who falls.

3.

When that child belongs to you, though,
Down you’ll stoop to scoop her up.
For you again it matters that
A stick is in a cup.
Significant is the crust of snow
And sun stripes on the cat.

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.
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