Poetry Sunday: Sandal Season

Age has nothing to do with it.  Summer insists that we shed layers and consider revealing body parts hidden throughout the long, cold days that started the year in most of the country.  Today, poet Laura Davies Foley speaks of making peace with her feet and invites us to do the same.


1804817263_b6dd88b8d2Photo by joshme17 via Flickr.

Ode to My Feet

For years I’ve thought them queer,
hiding them
in steamy boots and sneakers,
but recently, I’ve begun to like
their well-worked lines, blue
veins, tapered,  skinny elegance.
Funny looking, yes, oddly
protuberant, awkwardly angled,
unlike anyone else’s,
models for a medieval statue’s,
ancient granite feet
on a church facade,
thoroughly unmodern.
Yet, how well they climb steep cliffs,
work my slinky kayak’s rudder,
how they tingle, tapping to music
across a wooden floor,
dangling below me
when I sit on high seats,
and turning pink as we wade
the cool mountain pond,
warming, as they carry me
faithfully home to rest.

                                    Reprinted with the poet’s permission


Laura Davies FoleyLaura Davies Foley is the author of three poetry collections, The Glass Tree, Syringa, and Mapping the Fourth Dimension. The Glass Tree is a 2012 ForeWord book of the Year Award Finalist. It was also chosen as finalist for the Philip Levine Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines including Valparaiso Poetry Review, Inquiring Mind, Georgetown Review, and in the anthology In the Arms of Words: Poems for Disaster Relief.  She has received the Grand Prize for the Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Contest, a poetry fellowship from the Frost Place, and Columbia University’s Bunner Prize for her work on Wallace Stevens. She holds graduate degrees in English Literature from Columbia University and is a volunteer chaplain and creative arts facilitator in hospitals. She lives in Pomfret, Vermont with her partner and their three dogs.

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  • Ginger Andrews June 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    For as long as I can remember I’ve hidden my feet. It happens that my sisters– all 4 of them, had small and very cute feet. If there’s such a thing as lovely toes– theirs were the loveliest. The sister’s were so sweet, told me my feet were just fine. I didn’t believe them. Wow, I’ve never had a sandal season. I also hide other unflattering areas/parts– knees, upper arms, my not-so-flat-anymore belly. I’m okay with this. At my age, it seems appropriate to dress somewhat conservatively.
    I’m not rushing out for new open-toed shoes, but this good poem
    has caused me to rethink what I’m thankful for, period.

  • Laura June 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Actually, those feet (in the photo) are not mine. I don’t know where those come from (the editor?). My feet are truly funny-looking, bumpy and strange, yet I have come over time to appreciate them. Especially, as Diane says, the way they get me from place to place.
    Thank you both for your kind comments.
    I do hope we can all learn to love our feet!

  • Diane Dettmann June 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Laura, great “Ode to My Feet”. After bunion surgery years ago, my right foot IS “awkwardly angled” and the scars visible. Thank you for the aging feet inspiration! Just glad they still carry me from place to place. 🙂

  • Toni Myers June 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks for this amazing ode, Laura. I have outlived my feet and try to hide them as much as possible. Yours are beautiful!