Friday, August 24, 2007

Today's poem - Here by Grace Paley

From the Los Angeles Times:

Grace Paley, the activist and writer whose vibrant, Bronx-accented short stories illuminated the daily trials and boisterous interior lives of working-class men and women in language that radiated humanity, intelligence and streetwise humor, has died. She was 84.

Paley died of breast cancer Wednesday at her home in Thetford Hill, Vt., said her husband, playwright Robert Nichols.

Grace Paley was supposed to be at the poetry reading I attended this summer. She wasn't able to come, we were told, because of a family commitment. In honor of her, this poem was read. It is my favorite.

Here by Grace Paley

Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that's who I wanted to be

at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt grandchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
summer perspiration

that's my old man across the yard
he's talking to the meter reader
he's telling him the world's sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa ask him
to sit beside me for a minute I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips


  1. What sad news, Nan. It's a lovely poem and a very nice tribute to this wonderul writer.

  2. I'm sorry to hear of her death, but I'm very glad to read this poem. Thanks for posting it.

  3. What a lovely poem! Thank you, Nan.


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