Kay Ryan


Nothing forced works.
The Gordian knot just worsens
if it's jerked at by a person.
One of the main stations
of the cross is patience.
Another, of course, is impatience.
There is such a thing as
too much tolerance
for unpleasant situations,
a time when the gentle
teasing out of threads
ceases to be pleasing
to a woman born for conquest.
Instead she must assault
the knot or alp of everest
with something sharp,
and take upon herself
the moral warp of sudden progress.

Kay Ryan, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, Grove Press, 2011.