Tuesday, October 15, 2019


to forgive you
i had to go back,
bitterness falling like leaves

picking up stones,
gathering them
by the basketful—

my skin, arms, and back
riven and bloodied
with the buckling load

i’d intended to throw
with my calloused
and burning hands

but the sun on the leaves
that day in october
was so glorious,

and i felt so rich,
knew i was so rich, that
i laid the basket down

at your feet and
stretched out
my arms

bitterness falling, gently,
like leaves

© 2019 jennifer wagner


Frank Hubeny said...

I like how this began and ended with "bitterness falling like leaves"

Dwight L. Roth said...

Forgiveness is really a Majestic thing to experience! Well done!

ms_lili said...

I like how yang turned to yin with an appreciation of beauty.

Jane Dougherty said...

There's a satisfying roundness and rightness to this poem. The natural imagery is perfect.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

I could feel the palpable desire for vengeance, but then I felt the relief that forgiveness brings. Excellent. Thanks.

Ken said...


Alexandra said...


Janet Martin said...

vintage Jen! <3 Stole my breath as I read it a few times.

Ron Shields said...

This is a really fine poem.

brudberg said...

The real greatness lies in our ability to forget and maybe even forgive... Love it

Wendy Bourke said...

A wonderfully rendered piece. It's so true … an embrace forgives a multitude of transgressions. Beautiful!

Truedessa said...

I could feel the weight of your basket but, then came the beautiful release.

Amaya said...

I so appreciate your take on the prompt! The road to forgiveness can be harder and much longer than the bumpy road that led you there in the first place. But it is worthwhile and necessary. For souls; for humanity as a whole.

judydykstrabrown.com said...

A powerful extended metaphor, Jennifer.

tonispencer said...

The forgiveness, the laying down of the basket of stones. Wonderful in its majesty.

ayala said...

Love it.

purplepeninportland.com said...

Love the way you began and ended this wonderful poem. You could feel the reluctance to forgive.

Fireblossom said...

I love your poem, but still give the blank look when somebody says I have to forgive. Perhaps the explanation is somewhere in the riven and bloody stanza of this poem.

grapeling said...

one of your best, Jen ~

Rajesh said...

Cathartic... it is a new year Jen, we wait for your new Poems :)