24 May 2012

May Sarton

In our program here at Crossroads we sometimes use poetry to best express a particular topic. My colleague, Greg, uses this poem of May Sarton's to challenge our clients to seize the opportunity given to them in treatment to do just as she describes- become themselves. First published in 1948, it's a favorite of mine and I was startled and pleased to see it on the clients' counter. Sarton was an amazingly prolific writer, please enjoy.

Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"Hurry, you will be dead before--"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!


  1. I also love to read May Sarton. This poem is wonderful. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. I have loved every poem of hers I've read, but I forget to go back to her. Thank you for the reminder.

    So love these lines:

    O, in this single hour I live
    All of myself and do not move.

    1. Me too! Isn't this the recipe for a conscious life?!

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