Jeanne Murray Walker is the award-winning author of 8 volumes of
poetry and one memoir as well as a number of plays which have been
performed in theaters across the country and in London. She is an
Emeritus Professor at The University of Delaware, where she taught
for 40 years and headed the Creative Writing Concentration. Jeanne
currently serves as a poetry Mentor in The Seattle Pacific Low
Residency MFA Program. From her home outside Philadelphia
she blogs about the troubling politics of our time, reading and writing,
and the surprising power of stillness. She travels widely to speak
and read her poems in places ranging from The Library of Congress
to Romania, from Italy to Texas Canyon Country. You can find her
papers and letters archived at Wheaton College’s Buswell Library
and at The University of Delaware’s Morris Library. Jeanne has
appeared on PBS television and is frequently interviewed on the radio.
A Note from Jeanne
I’m delighted you’ve stopped by. Please linger a while to browse. Read some poems. Check out my blog and speaking schedule. If you’re near an event where I’ll be speaking, feel free to attend. If you’d like to read my blog click here. We can join forces to work for a more thoughtful world.
Jeanne Murray Walker
If I had stopped in a rush of deep love and
spent the money on that blouse as red
as the blush that rises after a full kiss on the mouth,
or if I had dropped the bills like seeds
into the dirty pocket of that drunk who
begged on the sidewalk, or if I had only snapped
my shoelace, so I’d had to leave
ten mortal minutes later, I might not have felt
the strap slip off, the purse go light and vanish.
When it was gone, I didn’t have a shilling for the bus,
no driver’s license, no passport,
nothing to hold me down to earth.
I felt bodiless and nameless in the clash
of evening traffic. Above me, some monumental clock
clanged five across the city and
I looked up into the face of time,
who someday will take my skin, my flesh, my bones
until I stand empty as pure hunger,
transparent as clean glass in sunlight—
while the bell pealed and pealed, a sound like joy
that in my life I never earned or paid for.