John Updike

Favorite Poems

Our thoughts on John Updike's poems
Poems by John Updike
Exploring John Updike
Critics Viewpoint On John Updike
Giving Credit When Credit Is Due
Comparison of John's poem and TOOL's song.
John Updike and Modern Culture
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Favorite Poems
Our Thoughts

Sonic Boom


I’m sitting in the living room,
When, up above, the Thump of Doom
Resounds. Relax. It’s sonic boom.

The ceiling shudders at the clap,
The mirrors tilt, the rafters snap,
And Baby wakens from his nap.

“Hush, babe. Some pilot we equip,
Giving the speed of sound the slip,
Has cracked the air like a penny whip.”

Our world is far from frightening; I
No longer strain to read the sky
Where moving fingers (jet planes) fly.
Our world seems much too tame to die.

And if it does, with one more pop,
I shan’t look up to see it drop Edit Text
Shaun- Powerful, Cunning, and Creative. This poem makes you feel exactly what the "family" is feeling in this poem, looking at the 4th, 5th, and 6th stanza you can see the powerful words such as: Clap, Snap, Nap. Also the 7th, 8th, and 9th with Equip, Slip, Whip. These Stanzas make an exact replication of how this poem is suppose to be making you feel the Sonic Boom.
Returning Native
(First stanza)
What can you say about Pennsylvania
in regard to New England except that
it is slightly less cold, and less rocky,
or rather that the rocks are different?
Redder, and gritty, and piled up here and there,
whether as glacial moraine or collapsed springhouse
is not easy to tell, so quickly
are human efforts bundled back into nature.
Vong- This is one of my favorite poems because it goes deep to the roots.  The description of nature's smell and touch takes me to the very spot.  When Updike describes the rain as "soft" this single word tells me there is a sprinkle without saying anything else.  I also love how Updike uses simile in describing  the "death-defying secret" as being "like a dog's gaze, loving but bewildered".  This really shows how important the secret is.  "Returning to Native" definately talks about how the earth was greener back in the days.  Updike describes the current world as having "granite hills" and "polluted river".  Updike is basically defining the difference of the past and current enviroment.

Saying Goodbye to Very Young Children

They will not be the same next time. The sayings
so cute, just slightly off, will be corrected.
Their eyes will be more skeptical, plugged in
the more securely to the worldly buzz
of television, alphabet, and street talk,
culture polluting their gazes' pure blue.
It makes you see at last the value of
those boring aunts and neighbors (their smells
of summer sweat and cigarettes, their faces                     
like shapes of sky between shade-giving leaves)
who knew you from the start, when you were zero,
cooing their nothings before you could be bored
or knew a name, not even your own, or how
this world brave with hellos turns all goodbye.
Charlene- I like this poem because I can relate to it.  Children grow up fast. John wrote “They will not be the same next time. The sayings so cute, just slightly off, will be corrected.” Young children miss pronounce words, and it usually only the parent that understands what they are saying.  It seems like a child that miss pronounces the words, and all of a sudden they start saying words clearer.  As a parent you wonder where did those miss pronounced words go?