“The Weight of the Heavens” by Emma Hoff

Emma Hoff (age 8)


Was the minotaur
A monster?

Or was he
Just placed here
To scare mankind.

Like Atlas,
Who was placed here to live,
Instead bearing everything,
The heavens.

What were the heavens like,
I wonder,
And would the minotaur like it there?

Would it be easier
If you were served by a servant,
Who holds you up?

Or would you take pity,
For Atlas already
Holds enough.

But how much would the heavens weigh,
If there were 
No people?

Does it matter how many people
Are there,
For each person adds just a little weight.

Surely the stars weigh more,
Or say,
The moon?
And surely the sun burns
Atlas’s already weighted

Or maybe,
The grief
That he isn’t out there doing things.

The minotaur is.

from 2021 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Emma Hoff: “When people read poetry, and literature in general, they finish, and they say, ‘I wish that was real.’ But in the period of time they read the text, everything in it is real, in a way. I like to write poetry because I like to make unbelievable things real.”

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