The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog

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As scents of coming spring arise from the winter grass, a poem by Alicia Suskin Ostriker, from her new collection of poems, The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog


I feel the hand of God inside my hand

when I write said the old woman

I am blown away like a hat

I swear God’s needy hand is inside every atom

Waving at us hoping we’ll wave back

Sometimes I feel the presence

of the goddess inside me said the dark red tulip

and sometimes I see her

waltzing in the world around me

skirts flying though everything looks still

It doesn’t matter whether you call the thing

God or goddess those are only words

said the dog panting after a run through the park

and a sprint after a squirrel

theology is bunk but the springtime wind is real

—  And what today, right now, is real for you?


  1. God is real for me. Theology is real for me. It determines how I perceive God, who God is, and how I worship Him. Theology, the study of the nature of God, is not bunk. It is part of spiritual formation; it is part of the Christian’s daily walk. It is part of affirming my faith. Without it, I am like a ship tossed to and fro. God’s truth is what’s real for me today, and always.

    1. Lovely comment and confession. The poem, as i hear it, is not pushing one way of God’s presence in our lives over another, but is a song, really, of some of the different ways we are met by God throughout each and every day. The dog’s final panting confession is also a theology, just as much as the old woman and the tulip.

      1. I loved the poem. Maybe ambiguity, beauty and vagueness are part of my theology.

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