Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Laundry and Blackbirds

Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, looking west, New York City, 1935-1941
via  NYC Municipal Archives

Because it is windy, a woman
finds her clothesline bare, and without rancor
unpins the light, folding it into her basket.
The light is still wet. So she irons it.
The iron hisses and hums. It knows how to make the best of things.
The woman’s hands smell clean. When she shakes them out,
they are voluminous, white.
All night my hands weep in gratitude
for little things. That feet are not shoes.
That blackbirds are eating the raspberries. That parsley
does not taste like bread.
From now on I want to live
only by grace. In other words, not to deserve things.
Without rancor, the light dives down
among the turnips. I eat it with my stew.
Today the woman's hands smell like roots. When she
shakes them out, they are voluminous, green.
All day they shade me
from the sun. The blackbirds have come to sit in them.
Since this morning, the wind has been enough.
Susan Mitchell
via Karen Maezen Miller


  1. Wow, that was luminous. Thank you for sharing. There is not enough poetry in my life.

  2. I really, really did like that so much. Do like it. I think I'll read it again.

  3. So much gratitude for how you bless .

  4. That's terrific, and I don't know that writer at all. Thanks for posting. Like Ms. Moon, I'm going to read it again.

  5. Love the complexity of this poem. I hadn't read Susan Mitchell's poetry before, but you prompted me to look her up. Here's a link to her poem "The Bear" , which i also like a lot.

    Thanks for opening up my understanding of poetry.
    x0 N2

  6. Link didn't work so here is the address of the poem:

  7. I was feeling tense and frantic when I started to read this and by the end was calm and tranquil. Thank you.

  8. Such an elegant poem with an equally elegant photograph. Thank you. xo Suzi



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