there is joy in all.

Anne Sexton   1928 - 1974

Can you tell I’ve been a little obsessed with women writers as of late? (See Joan Didion and Betty Smith posts.)

As I spend more time in schools, it’s becoming clearer to me that female authors and historical figures are rarely referenced in assigned texts and classroom discussions. Even the aesthetics of some schools are male-dominated; over the years, I’ve noticed too many classrooms that feature a disproportionate number of posters featuring men. There are so many amazing women who are too often left out of curricula because they’re not standard members of the ever-frustrating literary canon. [For the record, I’m not disparaging any particular school. This pattern of underpresenting women seems pervasive enough in many schools (my own high school included) to merit mention.]

As I ponder how to create lesson plans, curriculum, and classroom environments that embody social justice and promote equity, I’ve been revisiting my favorite women writers’ work. Tonight I reread some of Anne Sexton’s poetry and stumbled across this gem of a poem. It’s so beautiful. I’d love it if students were given a chance to read this. It challenges students’ notions about poetry being pretentious or inaccessible, and I’d love students to relate this to their own lives. Where do they find joy? Where do you find joy? xo, m

Welcoming Morning

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
to a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So, while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter in the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
dies young.

Next up? Zadie Smith. I’m going to reread one of her books and post passages that cause me to pause, reread, and wonder.

D 52466-03

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3 thoughts on “there is joy in all.

  1. Hi Molly!
    This is your mom’s friend Carol’s daughter Amanda (that was confusing, no?). Anyways your mom sent my mom your blog which she then sent me (clearly). I love, love, love this poem in addition to A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and Ms. Joan Didion.

    Just wanted to drop a line and tell you that I admire your taste and appreciate your hope for a more feminine scholastic future!

    Amanda

    • Hi, Amanda!! Thanks for the comment! (Not confusing at all- I’ve met your mom on several occasions and think she’s great.) And glad to hear there’s another lady out there who shares my appreciation for B. Smith and J. Didion. :)

  2. I think we could easily enumerate, from either side of the sexes, the way we’ve been shortchanged simply by being male or female. Having two young children in elementary school, I’m always frightened by the ratio of women to men employed at schools, which has, in my experience, been at least 70% female. It would also be instructive if there were a study done on the number of male writers, artists, scientists, philosophers, psychologists compared to the number of female. With writers, it would be necessary to find out how widely they are published and how many books sold. It all comes down to Gandhi (oops, another dude, and what a rough and tumble testosterone festival!) and “you must be the change you wish to see in the world”.

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