Grace Paley

(11 December 1922 – 22 August 2007 / Bronx, New York)

When I Was Asked How I Could Leave Vermont in the Middle of October


I did not want to be dependent on autumn
I wanted to miss it for once dropp into
another latitude where it wasn't so
well knownI wanted to show that beauty
can be held in the breath just as we breathe
grief and betrayal they don't always
have to be happening in the living minute

Look there it is now our own golden
wine-colored world-famous Vermont fall green
as summer to begin with and then the sunny
morning draws mist out of the cold night river
the maples are sweetened there's a certain
skipped beat a scalding as you live that
loyal countryside ablaze trembling
toward its long winter nobody should have
to bear all that death-determined beauty
every single year this aging body knows
it can't be borne

Submitted: Thursday, April 19, 2012

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  • Karen Sinclair (10/25/2012 3:59:00 AM)

    death-determined beauty.....this writer has a uniqueness and quirkiness which i adore.....im so glad i found her (Report) Reply

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