Kay Ryan has written of Hope that it is “the almost-twin/of making-do,/the isotope/ of going on.”

Here at Women’s Voices for Change we celebrate that capability within women—that capacity to make do and go on—with hope.  No wonder we are spotlighting the poems of Ryan, our nation’s Poet Laureate, during April, National Poetry Month.  She is the perfect poet to salute during the month when we renew our acquaintance with the inner voice that poets hear and speak for us all.

Tenderness and Rot

Tenderness and rot  
share a border.  
And rot is an  
aggressive neighbor  
whose iridescence  
keeps creeping over.

No lessons  
can be drawn  
from this however.

One is not  
two countries.  
One is not meat  
corrupting.

It is important  
to stay sweet  
and loving.


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(This poem originally appeared in the January 2002 issue of Poetry. Reprinted here by permission of the the author.)

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