Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BARE FEET, by KAREN SWENSON



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

BARE FEET, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The vulnerable, bare feet of old men
Last Line: Is bearable but filling it brings tears.
Subject(s): Death; Fathers & Daughters; Hospitals; Poetry & Poets; Dead, The


The vulnerable, bare feet of old men
protrude from sheets on trolleys in white halls -
my father's long since buried to bone; now
this elder poet's uncalloused as his soul.
I offer daisies or a perfumed rose
to hold his eye against the hospital's
blank walls of terror, then leave into August's
sun sticky, thick as a white pull of taffy.

I don't mourn death, but what my father's rage
and blame could never give which this man yields
abundantly. Gifts simple as a daisy's
eye, a breath of rose, are replied to with
a "Thank you," a kiss on hand or cheek, as
at the far end of life's long corridor
he exits, blowing kisses. Emptiness
is bearable but filling it brings tears.





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