APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: 'As Is' by Marie Ponset

APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: 'As Is' by Marie Ponset

The story told below feels as though it happened yesterday, though Marie Ponsot, the author of six collections of poetry, is not only a daughter and a mother herself but also a grandmother and great-grandmother many times over.


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As Is


Objects new to this place, I receive you.

It was I who sent for each of you.

The house of my mother is empty.

I have emptied it of all her things.

The house of my mother is sold with

All its trees and their usual tall music.

I have sold it to the stranger,

The architect with three young children.


Things of the house of my mother,

You are many. My house is

Poor compared to yours and hers. 

My poor house welcomes you.

Come to rest here. Be at home. Please

Do not be frantic do not

Fly whistling up out of your places.

You, floor - and wall-coverings, be

Faithful in flatness; lie still;

Try. By light or by dark

There is no going back.

You, crystal bowls, electrical appliances,

Velvet chair and walnut chair,

You know your uses; I wish you well.

My mother instructed me in your behalf.

I have made room for you. Most of you

Knew me as a child; you can tell

We need not be afraid of each other.


And you, old hopes of the house of my mother,



More on this poem and author:

Excerpt from Springing. Copyright (c) 2002 by Marie Ponsot. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, LLC., New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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