Marian Kaplun Shapiro
2011 Massachusetts Senior Poet Laureate

Marian Kaplun Shapiro, 72, of Lexington, succeeds herself as Massachusetts' 2010 Senior Poet Laureate and 2009 Honor Scroll Award winner. She is a nationally known American poet. A Jewish Quaker, she was born in a housing project in The Bronx. She is now a psychologist and author of many plays, articles, books and poems. Marian and her physicist husband have two children and five grandkids.


Newsflash: Iíve decided at last.
In the next life, Iím signing up
for the squirrel world. Thatís it.
Plain grey will do. The kind
that flourish even in The Bronx. Sure,
I can think of more exotic options.
Birds were the frontrunners for a long time.
Those of startling plumage. Those
of thrilling song, and graceful flight.
Especially those that mate for life, as we
have done.

Squirrels have fun.
Thatís what tipped the balance. Twosomes
fling themselves from branch to branch,
raiding the squirrel-proof bird-feeders
in a hold-it-open-swipe-it-out dance step,
just because they can. Swinging by their tails
collecting tinsel, string, old birthday ribbons,
found art for their nests. Burying
acorns theyíll probably forget about. Play-
fighting with their friends, whipping
íround the trees like kids at recess.

Notice how they run
up poles, leap onto wires, roofs and drainpipes,
dash across streets and highways, dare-
devils chpchpping raucously, brash and brazen.
All the worldís their playground. I remember
playgrounds. I remember hanging upside down
from the highest monkey bar,
unforgiving concrete just below.
Thatís what I want. To be five. To be immortal.
Second choice: to play, laughing, right
in your backyard. To bask forever

in your sun.

Marian Kaplun Shapiro