Ellen Bass Poems
- Basket Of Figs Bring me your pain, love. Spread it out like...
- Waiting For Rain Finally, morning. This loneliness feels ...
- Dead Butterfly For months my daughter carried a dead ...
- Eating The Bones The women in my family strip the succulent
- Relax Bad things are going to happen. Your tomatoes will ...
Ellen Bass (born 1947, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American poet and co-author of The Courage to Heal.
She grew up in Margate City, NJ, where her parents owned a liquor store. She attended Goucher College, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1968 with her bachelor’s degree. She pursued a master’s degree at Boston University, where she studied with Anne Sexton, and graduated in 1970. From 1970–1974, Bass worked as an administrator at Project Place, a social service center in Boston. She currently is teaching in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University in Oregon and has been teaching Writing About Our Lives workshops since 1974 in Santa Cruz, California.
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Basket Of Figs
Bring me your pain, love. Spread
it out like fine rugs, silk sashes,
warm eggs, cinnamon
and cloves in burlap sacks. Show me
the detail, the intricate embroidery
on the collar, tiny shell buttons,
the hem stitched the way you were taught,
pricking just a thread, almost invisible.
Unclasp it like jewels, the gold
still hot from your body. Empty
your basket of figs. Spill your wine.
That hard nugget of pain, I would suck it,
cradling it on my tongue like the slick
seed of pomegranate. I would lift it
tenderly, as a great animal ...