Acts of Vexation

By Pam Rehm b. 1967 Pam Rehm
The only thing under the sun
I can run to
is Ecclesiastes

for there is nothing gathered into one self
that can be kept

Want is humbled by death
as every purpose manifests it

Feeling this all my life
a piercing fright
gathers in the stomach's pit

This is it and this is not the end
of the road

for even despair is a kind of goad
to wisdom

The beauty of the world
over one's own anguish

The day that I lost all feeling

I was both a Fool and a Goddess

Pam Rehm, "Acts of Vexation" from Small Works. Copyright © 2005 by Pam Rehm. Reprinted with the permission of Flood Editions.

Source: Small Works (Flood Editions, 2005)

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

Poet Pam Rehm b. 1967

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure


Pam Rehm was born and raised in a German farming community in central Pennsylvania. Influenced by Emily Dickinson and Robert Creeley, Rehm composes spare, precise poems that explore the intersections between spirit and language, and humans and the natural world. In a review of her collection Small Works (2005) for Verse magazine, poet Jason Stumpf observed, “The mind within these poems enters and contemplates moments, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Pam Rehm

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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.