You Are Made of Grace

What beauty the world holds cupped between
light and dark,
everything mortal,
rising with the sun, the grass bright with the shine of rain.
We have just had news of you
intubated, sedated.
Bilateral orbital fractures and more
to the bones
of your beautiful face.
A question of cognitive consequence.
Yet gratefully, this is no day to die.
Not with the buff seed heads waving, the geese
serene on the lake,
the russet and ocher of the last leaves dissolving
in a bowl of beauty.
How fragile our grip on this world.
Everything changed in a moment,
like an earthquake along the far side of the continent
and yet in your cocoon
of gauze you are made of grace and glow.
Quick pulse,
the smallest pressure of your hand,
an eyelid opened—
bring hope. These stubborn burrs in the dog’s coat,
are like everything fractured, pulled apart,
yet when the gaze lifts, change to spiraled light and seeds of
milkweed, floating.

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Jeanne J. LeVasseur is professor emeritus of nursing at Quinnipiac University. She is the director of Poets on Poetry, an educational endeavor of the Connecticut Poetry Society. Her poetry has been published in Nimrod, The Iowa Review, Yankee, The American Journal of Nursing, Literature and Medicine, JAMA and elsewhere, and her poems have appeared in seven anthologies, including Between the Heartbeats:  Poetry and Prose by Nurses and Waking Up to the EarthShe is the author of a book of poetry entitled Planetary Nights, and her poems can sometimes be found pinned to walls where nurses practice.


About the Poem

“This poem grew from the dissonance of learning the news of a friend’s car accident on a perfect autumn day. The imagined consequences of the trauma are checked by the perfect delicacy of milkweed spiraling into the air, like breath. The final image captures this moment of knowing and yet not knowing how it will resolve. In the end, my friend was lucky. But before that was known, there was concern, hope and the small prayer flags of the milkweed floating into the air.”


7 thoughts on “You Are Made of Grace”

  1. I have always been drawn to Jeanne’s poetry–the remarkable imagery and, with it, this story virtually every reader can relate to. “How fragile our grip on this world”–indeed.

  2. Beautiful— the contrasts. This one I will read again and again like playing a favorite song ! Thank you so much, and glad your friend was ok in the end!

  3. Stunning, Jeanne–just stunning. How fragile our grip on this world…even when we feel ourselves to be holding on so tightly, a white-knuckle ride. This life.
    I was in a near fatal car accident at age 21 and the world was never the same after that. Took nothing for granted, and have tried to take in every gorgeous fragment of the natural world.
    Thank you.

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Call for Entries​

Pulse Writing Contest​​

"On Being Different"