“Some Notes on Courage” by Susan Ludvigson

Think of a child who goes out
into the new neighborhood,
cap at an angle, and offers to lend
a baseball glove. He knows
how many traps there are–
his accent or his clothes, the club
already formed.
Think of a pregnant woman
whose first child died–
her history of blood.
Or your friend whose father
locked her in basements, closets,
cars. Now when she speaks
to strangers, she must have
all the windows open.
She forces herself indoors each day,
sheer will makes her climb the stairs.
And love. Imagine it. After all
those years in the circus, that last
bad fall when the net didn’t hold.
Think of the ladder to the wire,
spotlights moving as you move,
then how you used to see yourself
balanced on the shiny air.
Think of doing it again.

Susan Ludvigson, featured in The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry.

2 thoughts on ““Some Notes on Courage” by Susan Ludvigson

    1. It’s good, huh Mary? That closing about loving again. Made me think about the final lines in Ellen Bass’s poem “The Thing Is”. Sometimes love is not always about a person. Here’s her poem:)

      to love life, to love it even
      when you have no stomach for it
      and everything you’ve held dear
      crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
      your throat filled with the silt of it.
      When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
      thickening the air, heavy as water
      more fit for gills than lungs;
      when grief weights you like your own flesh
      only more of it, an obesity of grief,
      you think, How can a body withstand this?
      Then you hold life like a face
      between your palms, a plain face,
      no charming smile, no violet eyes,
      and you say, yes, I will take you
      I will love you, again.

      “The Thing Is” by Ellen Bass, Mules of Love.


Comments are closed.