Simple Gifts




I learned: you taught.

It was that simple.


You tolerated my doxologies:

Donne, Whitman, Frost,

the hymns I knew fresher once.


I do not know whether it was the words

I read two decades ago in the garret room, pressing

against the night, or my own young poetry

that could hardly be contained against the rooftop.

Is it the sensation or the poems

I try to stumble toward in English class?

I digress. . .you’ve forgiven me that and more:

you concealed yawns and thought not too intently

about my. . .



One of you even said a solid, Baptist prayer

for me as I struggled through the rigging

of intensive care, the heart gone awry.

And I heard that hopeful prayer clearer

than Wordsworth or Donne as it made its way
toward open sky.







                                                                                           Susan C. Waters