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By Marie Ponsot

“Saturday’s child must work for a living.”

“I’m moving from Grief  Street.

Taxes are high here

though the mortgage’s cheap.


The house is well built.

With stuff to protect, that

mattered to me,

the security.


These things that I mind,

you know, aren’t mine.

I mind minding them.

They weigh on my mind.


I don’t mind them well.

I haven’t got the knack

of  kindly minding.

I say Take them back

but you never do.


When I throw them out

it may frighten you

and maybe me too.


                 Maybe

it will empty me

too emptily


and keep me here

asleep, at sea

under the guilt quilt,

under the you tree.”


Notes:

The epigraph of this poem was originally omitted in the changeover to the new website. Because of this, reciting the epigraph is optional for the 2019-2020 Poetry Out Loud season.

From Springing: New and Selected Poems by Marie Ponsot, copyright © 2002 by Marie Ponsot. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. Any third party use of this material, outside of this publication, is prohibited. Interested parties must apply directly to Random House, Inc. for permission.

  • Living
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Marie Ponsot
Poet and translator Marie Ponsot was born in New York, and taught at New York University and Columbia University. Her first book, True Minds, was published in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights series in 1956. The book went unnoticed, and she did not publish another volume for decades, focusing instead on her career as a translator. Her three subsequent books of poetry won several awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her poems are both verbally complex and extremely formal, embracing such difficult forms as the sestina and the villanelle, as they engage with intelligence and drama the occurrences of everyday life. See More By This Poet

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