YIELD Everything, Force Nothing by Jean Valentine

Years circling the same circle:
the call to be first,
and the underlying want:

and this morning, look! I’ve finished now,
with this terrific red thing,
with green and yellow rings on it, and stars.

The contest is over:
I turned away,
and I am beautiful: Job’s last daughters,
Cinnamon, Eyeshadow, Dove.

The contest is over:
I let my hands fall,
and here is your garden:
Cinnamon, Eyeshadow, Dove.


i read this poem in a book of essays on poetry. and at first i didn’t like it. then i couldn’t stop thinking about it…”the contest is over” “i’ve finished now with this terrific red thing” the lines kept coming back in my mind. i couldn’t stop thinking about this poem. so i read it again and discovered that i actually love this poem very much and feel kinship with it right now. i wish i’d written it, which is how i always feel when i read a very truly wonderful poem. i love reading poems like that. 


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