Poem: Acceptance

Feb 01, 2023 by Bethel Swift, in Poetry


(After Jane Kenyon)

Gratitude ebbs and flows

amid surges of jealousy.

Holding their glossy photos, I am transported–

by the golden teenage gymnast’s beaming smile;

a self-assured figure skater’s soaring spiral;

an elegant ballerina’s graceful bow at curtain call–

to how it might otherwise have been.


Then in crashes news of history’s worst repetitions;

the miserable fates of so many women and children

abused and tormented, locked away, hidden…

So I read it again:

How it might otherwise have been.

Scales fall from eyes and I see

my own invisible cape of privilege,

adjust it with chapped and cut hands

that enable me to ally and self-advocate;

to pray and protest and pay –

exorbitant rent, food, and medicine;

to replace worn clothes, give good gifts, 

contribute a share to reparations . . .


“Say grace!”


. . . with flat feet firmly planted in good sense and empathy;

for being granted a seat at the table and being able 

to hold space, even create another place, 

for someone who might otherwise 

not have been accepted.