Over and Over Stitch by Jorie Graham
This is a poem by Jorie Graham, from a volume which won the Pulitzer Prize about ten years ago. It is the kind of poem that helps us dig into life and turn it into something extraordinary, like a good dream, making us change how we feel, even showing us the nature of faith: this isn’t a bad place;/ why not pretend/ we wished for it? Jorie Graham teaches at Harvard.
Over and Over Stitch
Late in the season the world digs in, the fat blossoms
hold still for just a moment longer.
Nothing looks satisfied,
but there is no real reason to move on much further:
this isn’t a bad place;
why not pretend
we wished for it?
The bushes have learned to live with their haunches.
The hydrangea is resigned
to its pale and inconclusive utterances.
Towards the end of the season
it is not bad
to have the body. To have experienced joy
as the mere lifting of hunger
is not to have known it
less. The tobacco leaves
don’t mind being removed
to the long racks—all uses are astounding
to the used.
There are moments in our lives which, threaded, give us heaven—
noon, for instance, or all the single victories
of gravity, or the kudzu vine,
most delicate of manias,
which has pressed its luck
this far this season.
It shines a gloating green.
Its edges darken with impatience, a kind of wind.
Nothing again will ever be this easy, lives
being snatched up like dropped stitches, the dry stalks of daylilies
marking a stillness we can’t keep.