Wise Poets – Katherine Anne Porter – Old In The City

Katherine Anne Porter (May 15, 1890 – September 18, 1980)

You grow geraniums
And crochet baby-bonnets
But you walk slowly
Every day more slowly

As if there were a rock
In your poor belly

You stay away from doctors
They’d send you to the hospital
Where pieces are cut out of you
And after that you die

Instead you walk to the park
Where there are oaks and elm trees
That stream up to the sun
With triumph in their branches

Where there’s a secret nation
Of squirrels who find it convenient
To set up their nests in the treetops
Like vendors who set up their stalls
By the steps of a great cathedral

And sometimes you sit in the playground
Waiting for the children
Who come when school is out

They rush in all together
Throwing their books on the benches
And racing to the swings

Over and over again
Their feet in their battered sneakers
Fly up into the air
And their hair too is flying
A wordless and intent
Delight is in their faces.