Alice Walker

(9 February 1944 - / Eatonton Georgia)

Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit - Poem by Alice Walker

Did you ever understand this?
If my spirit was poor, how could I enter heaven?
Was I depressed?
Understanding editing,
I see how a comma, removed or inserted
with careful plan,
can change everything.
I was reminded of this
when a poor young man
in Tunisia
desperate to live
and humiliated for trying
set himself ablaze;
I felt uncomfortably warm
as if scalded by his shame.
I do not have to sell vegetables from a cart as he did
or live in narrow rooms too small for spacious thought;
and, at this late date,
I do not worry that someone will
remove every single opportunity
for me to thrive.
Still, I am connected to, inseparable from,
this young man.
Blessed are the poor, in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus. (Commas restored) .
Jesus was as usual talking about solidarity: about how we join with others
and, in spirit, feel the world, and suffering, the same as them.
This is the kingdom of owning the other as self, the self as other;
that transforms grief into
peace and delight.
I, and you, might enter the heaven
of right here
through this door.
In this spirit, knowing we are blessed,
we might remain poor


Comments about Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit by Alice Walker

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (1/25/2016 3:58:00 PM)

    I have attended a fair amount of Bible Study classes and I must admit I find her reflections on this topic novel and interesting and worthy of consideration. She also has a way of capturing attention - who can forget the young man who set himself afire? She has a very innovative mind- blessed are we who get to read what she thinks. (Report) Reply

    12 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • John Richter (5/1/2015 7:35:00 AM)

    How does one report a commenter like Conner Richardson below? He is obviously just a hater. And he has no poetic contributions here himself that I could find. Alice Walker is an incredibly gifted, beautiful soul. The thing that makes her beautiful is that she doesn't focus on the hate and racism that has been spirited her way by people like you for her entire life. It is as if she sings such beautiful hymns while scraping dog crap like you off of her heel, otherwise not even acknowledging your existence..... Do you see that your comments and what you might believe is your intelligence appears so very, very tiny? You should re-read this poem again - and perhaps its inspirational verse form the Bible - because reckoning is coming my friend..... (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams Susan Williams (1/25/2016 3:53:00 PM)

    John! John! John! I zip through a lot of comments to reach yours and Kim Barney's comments as well as a couple of others'. [There's a new guy on the block too- a Steven S if I remember correctly- - who has made illuminating comments] Your and their comments add to my experience with a poem. Even if I disagree or don't see what you all see, comments widen my horizons. I hate to see you so upset by the comments this guy made. Freedom of expression covers them too- unless they use foul language then I report the heck out of them. If I think they are really off-base, I figure that eventually they will grow through some more years and more experiences to the point they can see in a poem what they are not prepared for now. I seldom dislike a comment- people have a right to their own wrong opinion [okay, I'm fooling around with a little word play]. I even comment sometimes that I find a poem dull and a waste of my time to read- it's rare but I have said it! I also try to add that I may be in a grumpy, non-receptive mood that day too! I think other people's comments may come out of a similar place in their lives. Have a better day, John, just reflect that your comments have enriched a lot of people's appreciation for these poems.

  • Patricia Grantham Patricia Grantham (10/15/2014 7:21:00 AM)

    A beautifully written poem. I can sense where the poet is delving
    deep into the hearts of its readers. Our concern for others is
    rooted in this sweet spiritual write. Quite inspiring. (Report) Reply

  • Conner Richardson (1/8/2013 2:54:00 PM)

    This poem made me want to puke... No connection between the caring of others and God... (Report) Reply

  • Graham Waters (3/20/2012 10:18:00 PM)

    Very good poem about caring for others, Osceola Birdman Waters (Report) Reply

  • Graham Waters (3/20/2012 10:15:00 PM)

    This poem is careing as God wants us to care for others, Osceola Waters. (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Friday, March 16, 2012

Poem Edited: Friday, March 16, 2012


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