Great As You Are

By Susan Griffin b. 1943 Susan Griffin
Be like a bear in the forest of yourself.
Even sleeping you are powerful in your breath.
Every hair has life
and standing, as you do, swaying
from one foot to the other
all the forest stands with you.
Each minute sound, one after another,
is distinct in your ear. Here
in the blur of mixed sensations, you can
feel the crisp outline of being, particulate.
Great as you are, huge as you are and
growling like the deepest drum,
the continual vibration that makes music
what it is,
not some light stone skipped on the surface of things,
you travel below
sounding the depths where only the dauntless go.
Be like the bear and
do not forget
how you rounded your
massive shape over the just ripened
berry which burst
in your mouth that moment
how you rolled in
the wet grass, cool and silvery, mingling
with your sensate skin,
how you shut
your eyes and swam far and farther
still, starlight
shaping itself to your body,
starship rocking the grand, slow waves
under the white trees, in the
snowy night.

“Great As You Are” from Bending Home: Selected Poems 1967-1998 by Susan Griffin. Published in 1998 by Copper Canyon Press. www.coppercanyonpress.org

Source: Bending Home: Selected Poems 1967-1998 (Copper Canyon Press, 1998)

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

Poet Susan Griffin b. 1943

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Nature, Animals

Biography

Poet, essayist, and playwright Susan Griffin was born in 1943 in Los Angeles, California. An early awareness of the horrors of World War II and her childhood in the High Sierras have had an enduring influence on her work, which includes poetry, prose, and mixed genre collections. A playwright and radical feminist philosopher, Griffin has also published two books in a proposed trilogy of “social autobiography.” Her work considers . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

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.