Peddler

By Sandra McPherson b. 1943 Sandra McPherson
The man vending needles at our door   
Was lucky to greet you.
He looked poor but you acted needle-poor   
Where I’d have said, I don’t need ...

He sells needles to prick your heart   
And they’ll take small bites
Out of my finger in a layer of skin   
Where my feelings are thin.

The old thread knitting together his many wools   
Might last another trudge
To our porch: he came last year but I
Refused and barely looked him in the eye.

I’ve lost how many needles since then?   
Besides he is mute
And would see how dumb we are to buy   
Three hundred needles for relief.

But he supplied us to the end of life.
I’ll give away some.
And you might never use these points
That push through cloth, cut to be made one.

Sandra McPherson, “Peddler” from Radiation (New York: The Ecco Press, 1973). Copyright © 1973 by Sandra McPherson. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Radiation (Ecco Press, 1973)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Sandra McPherson b. 1943

Subjects Jobs & Working, Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Sandra  McPherson

Biography

Sandra McPherson weaves vivid images culled from nature into what Contemporary Women Poets contributor David Young characterizes as "rich, complex, and deeply satisfying poems." In collections that include the National Book Award-nominated The Year of Our Birth, 1988's At the Grave of Hazel Hall, and 1996's Edge Effect: Trails and Portrayals, McPherson has increasingly honed her unsentimental, insightful verse, imbuing it with . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Jobs & Working, Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.