certain days


Certain Days
Grace Paley

On certain days I am not in love
and my heart turns over

crowding the lungs for

driving blood in and out of
the skull improving my mind

working muscles to the bone

dashing resonance out of a roaring sea
at my nerve endings

Not much is needed


good sense


a noisy taking in and a
loud giving back

Then my heart like any properly turned
motor takes off in sparks dragging all that machinery
through the blazing day
like grass
which our lord knows
I am

Photo by Peter Yost on Unsplash

dissent as cheer


Grace Paley

My dissent is cheer
a thankless disposition
first as the morning star
my ambition: good luck

and why not a flight
over the wide dilemma
and then good night to
sad forever

walking in the woods


Walking in the Woods
Grace Paley

That’s when I saw the old maple
a couple of its thick arms cracked
one arm reclining half rotted
into earth black with the delicious
hospitality of rot to the
littlest creatures

the tree not really dying living
less widely green head high
above the other leaf-crowded
trees a terrible stretch to sun
just to stay alive but if you’ve
liked life you do it