Everyone’s got her basket


Everyone has her basket.

And in that basket
are all the things
a body gets
in a lifetime:

The long legs
the natural grace

The way with words
or people
or numbers
or animals

The force field that makes money
or love
or ideas
or children
come to them first

The gene soup
that makes eyes blue
stomachs sturdy
loins fruitful
brains prodigious

Even the luck,
the ponies
the Kojak parking
the pair of pants on sale
or the person of their dreams available
at the exact moment
where need and want meet,
even that
is in the basket.

There will be days
when you look down at your basket and marvel
at the wonderful
things inside

And there will be days
when you cannot bring yourself to look
at all
or rather
where the only place you can look
is at the basket next to you
and with longing.

But every day
someone is looking at your basket
with longing

Every day
someone would trade baskets with yours
sight unseen

I have been
in all of those places
and mostly
I am grateful
for the grace
that forgave my foolishness

This is my basket
to carry
and uncover
layer by layer
day by day
year by year

And sometimes
story by story.

May your basket overflow
with beautiful things
of incomparable joy
and wonder

And when it does not
may you be visited
by the same grace that sat down beside me
to show me the beauty
and the joy
and the wonder
I could not see


Image by The Wandering Angel via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. I’m really happy that you’re sharing your poetry with us these days. I love the way you write, but more than that, I love the you that shines through when you write. (:

  2. I don’t usually comment on blogs (ironically, since I do happy dances when people leave comments on mine), but this poem just blew me away. Really touched me – thanks for sharing.

  3. this poem speaks to me so much! and reading it, i had visions of an illustrated children’s book with these words on the pages…how cool would that be?! thank you for sharing it :)

  4. Thank you, all!

    I’m really not sure if it’s poetry, but it’s definitely some weird, condensed version of me, so “poetry” is as good a moniker as any.

    I appreciate the encouragement, as this particular idea is one that’s very near and dear to my heart—it was the central theme behind the Comic Play with Music my friend, L.A. Jan, and I wrote about our chronic illnesses. I’d been turning it over in my head for years, off and on, because I think it might be one of those image-ideas that could be useful for a lot of people in the midst of Grappling. There’s a lot of grappling going on now, no?

    (An illustrated book? Hmm…)

  5. I’m so glad I stopped by to take a peak at your blog today, my birthday… this poem is a wonderful present. And “grappling” yes, that’s the word. Like so many things, I can’t wait to what you have to say about it Colleen. Cheers!

  6. Thanks for this. I’ve struggled before to write something that says what your poem says, and I haven’t ever come close. Now that you’ve said it so well, I can take a deep breath and move on.

  7. And in today’s basket, I found a friend who REALLY is battling with all that mess and junk which is in hers. So you sometimes stare down into others’ and find pain, then stare into your own seeing only beauty. Great, generous and glorious you are with the words. Gratitude for you commitment and effort and genius, P

  8. anything in your basket you’d be willing to trade?
    like we used to with our lunch in kindergarten?
    no? because every day you learn that there’s a reason for that particular item?
    ok then…

  9. C-
    That was beautiful. Not only do I feel better about my basket, I can now call my Doris Day parking Kojak.
    Lots of love,

  10. You DO know that you just wrote the thing that’s going to be passed along to the inboxes of eleventy billion lucky people, don’t you? Just beautiful, Colleen! Thanks for sharing your grace and your journey.

  11. You guys! You’re so nice!

    As long as it came up, the other thing I have been known to call “Kojak parking” is “celebrity parking.” Which has a nice cadence to it, but really, I like “Kojak” best!

  12. I call it “rock star” parking, and I get it every time. How does primo parking relate to Kojak? And … I was driving along while thinking of this very question, when I noticed a totally bald, Kojak look-alike bending over to pick something up off the street. A clue, perhaps?!

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