Welcome to Sunday Morning Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer. Our current guest editor is Susan Thurston.

In last week’s chosen poem, we were left with a deeper understanding of the blended importance of managing alone and needing help from our loved ones. This Sunday, abundance is understood further as an action–of gathering and grief. Marcella Taylor makes it clear that when we occupy places rich with what fills us, we are even more aware of the absences, especially of those not with us in the physical sense.

Susan Thurston

Quiet Gathering
Marcella Taylor

For a week with the family gone
I have tended the house,
cared for the things you loved.

Out in the back garden, tomatoes
burden the vines. Ripened,
they now lie fallen, juices spilled.

I gather those still leaning
from the vine, the pale orange,
the clear red. In the picking,

they overflow my hands. I make 
a basket of the front of my skirt,
carry them into the waiting kitchen.

I pick a golden-petalled flower, dark
center intact, a single bloom
to keep me company through the night

in this house filled with the harvest
that outlived you, this house
now too silent, this house of rest.


Marcella Taylor was a stalwart friend and confidante, taken far too soon by an aggressive cancer. During her amazing life she was a gifted teacher at St. Olaf College, and her breathtaking poetry garnered awards, grants, and residencies. Born in the Bahamas of Scottish, African, Cherokee, and Irish ancestry, she made her creative home in Minnesota. She published extensively in journals and anthologies including Poetry, Wisconsin Review, and Tampa Bay Review, and two volumes in addition to A Body Remembers: The Lost Daughter and Songs for the Arawak.

“Quiet Gathering” from A Body That Remembers ©2001 by Marcella Taylor, appears with permission of Black Hat Press, Minnesota.