The postman comes when I am still in bed.
“Postman, what do you have for me today?”
I say to him. (But really I’m in bed.)
Then he says – what shall I have him say?

“This letter says that you are president
Of – this word here; it’s a republic.”
Tell them I can’t answer right away.
“It’s your duty.” No, I’d rather just be sick.

Then he tells me there are letters saying everything
That I can think of that I want for them to say.
I say, “Well, thank you very much. Good-bye.”
He is ashamed, and turns and walks away.

If I can think of it, it isn’t what I want.
I want . . . I want a ship from some near star
To land in the yard, and beings to come out
And think to me: “So this is where you are!

Come.” Except that they won’t do,
I thought of them. . . . And yet somewhere there must be
Something that’s different from everything.
All that I’ve never thought of – think of me!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Randall Jarrell's poem A Sick Child


  1. Randy C. Hale says:

    This is one of the most profound poems that I have ever read. A child comes into this world and soon thinks that they are the center of everything only to learn that this is not reality at all. It is only a hope, a fantasy, a desire to return to such an Eden but not possible but in our minds which this to me is the purpose of the poem. What we create in protest to how things really are.

  2. Melaney says:

    This is the most stupid poem I have ever read!!! urrghhhhhhh!!!!!!

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