Judith in Old Age

She drowses now drifting
Between scorn and harsh grace.
She remembers the miry head,
His stricken face, lips peeled back,
The broken hymns of praise,
The immodesty of her rage.

Here though her fingertips
Turn the crisp green stems,
Poignant with fragrance and hue.
A meshing intimacy she spins,
The petals blending lucent
As the sun warming her window seat.

For the first time she knows
The politeness of colors,
Their pattern of binding light.
Outside the last snow melts;
She sleeps and dreams trusting
The husband who comes to take her home.


Daniel James Sundahl is Professor in English and American Studies at Hillsdale College, where he has taught for thirty-two years. Over the years he has published numerous book reivews, academic articles, and poems, and has spoken at conferences and events around the country and abroad. He is married to Ellen, and they have three mackerel cats and one very well-behaved German Shepherd. Everyone in the family has retired as of December 2014.