By Tania Runyan

Poems for Contemplation: "Sarah Considers the Stars"

This summer The Well is featuring a series of poems by women. Ruth Goring invites you to approach them curiously and meditatively.

"Sarah Considers the Stars"

by Tania Runyan

He took [Abraham] outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  — Genesis 15:5

After Abraham fell asleep, 
she pulled her cloak 

around her shoulders 
and walked out to stare 

at the night. Stars collected 
in the crevices of mountains. 

They spilled into the oak groves 
and clung to the branches.

And when she spread her hands 
to the sky, they rested in the sags 

of flesh between her fingers. 
The world is dripping with stars, 

she thought, and still not one 
belongs to me. She considered 

hating them. She considered 
wishing a heavenly storm 

to drown them. But she only 
murmured I am through 

and walked off, holding 
a sudden sharpness in her side, 

as if a star had dislodged 
there and, turning and scraping 

and shining its path, settled 
into the bare sky of her body.

This poem can be found in A Thousand Vessels by Tania Runyan.

Photo by Ian Livesey from StockSnap.

About the Author

Tania Runyan is the author of the poetry collections What Will Soon Take Place, Second Sky, A Thousand Vessels, Simple Weight, and Delicious Air, which was awarded Book of the Year by the Conference on Christianity and Literature in 2007. Her guides How to Read a Poem, How to Write a Poem, and How to Write a College Application Essay are used in classrooms across the country. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including Poetry, Image, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Christian Century, Saint Katherine Review, and the Paraclete book Light upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. Tania was awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship in 2011.

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