Photo: Andrew Tolson

As witches, bats and jack-o-lanterns begin to appear in our neighborhoods, we reflect on the investigations of souls and saints that gave birth to this iconography.  Molly Peacock, whose gift of five poems to Women’s Voices for Change has elevated this month to one of our most poetically celebratory ever, considers everyday holiness in these two poems. We once again rejoice in our good fortune at counting as a friend and sister this far-published winner of awards from the Danforth Foundation, Ingram Merrill Foundation, and Woodrow Wilson Foundationm as well as  National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts Fellowships.  It’s been an honor having her with us for these weeks and we look forward to more encounters and adventures together.


Forgiveness is not an abstraction for
it needs a body to feel its relief.
Knees, shoulders, spine are required to adore
the lightness of a burden removed.  Grief,
like a journey over water completed,
slides its keel in the packed sand reef.
Forgiveness is contact with the belief
that your only life must now be lived.  Knees
once sank into leather of the pew with all
the weight of created hell, of whom you did not ease,
or what you did not seize.  Now the shortfall
that crippled your posture finds sudden peace
in the muscular, physical brightness
of a day alive:  the felt lightness
of existence self-created, forgiveness.


Rain hisses off the bus and car and taxi tires,
hosing the almost gardened streets; blackened lanes
of traffic seem planned as garden paths;
buildings wired like cemented topiaries
lean into their baths, and it’s spring,
we’re alive, the city a human-made Eden,
so gray, not green, though there in the fruit stands
jonquils and hyacinths bow in tin buckets and
figures in slickers duck out to shop, a wet parade
of flower heads conveyed along below.
It occurs to me to pray.
In a little seizure, a prayer shudders up,
its spasm quick as a camera’s shutter:
Glad you exist to rise up, window.

Reprinted from ORIGINAL LOVE: Poems by Molly Peacock. Copyright (c) 1995 by Molly Peacock. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Molly Peacock October 31, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I just wanted to say what an honor it is to be associated with this fabulous site. All my best to all who are involved with Women’s Voices For Change.

    Molly Peacock