Suzanne Selby Grenager '64

It is often said that great art is created during troubled times, so it should come as no surprise that Barnard — well-known for its alumnae writers — has seen this trend continue as the “twin pandemics” of COVID-19 and a renewed focus on racial injustice and violence sweep the world. In this new limited series, Barnard community members share poems and songs that speak to this unique moment in time. (If you would like to contribute, please email

Today, we feature a collection of poems written by Suzanne Selby Grenager '64 titled "In All Our Gory Glory." 


Words crowd my head,
Like gulls to bread on the beach.

I love my words,
Seeking voice through pen to page.

But there is so much
I know to say, and
So little time.

How, pray tell,
Can I possibly
Be 69?

Winter Light 

I open my eyes.

The morning sun is almost too bright to bear.
White winter light lays bare the world,
Cuts me to the quick.

But it is too late 
To shut my eyes, my heart.

There is no respite now
From the piercing glare,
The fierce, plaintive wail
Of a life awakened.

Wake Up

Wake up early.
Open the blinds.
Put a log on the dying fire.

Fan the flames
Any way you can.


Gratitude and prayer
Do not come easily
To this old bird of prey
That is my mind.

The best I can often do is
Sit and sigh, and
Let down my hair, one straggly
Strand, or two, at a time.

The good news is
There is probably less to
Unravel here than I think.

You Might As Well Dance 

There is no need to be still, fast,
Or keep silence.
You might as well dance, feast 
And sing.

Sooner or later, God
Will find you anyway.

If you are looking for an austere God,
Then go ahead and practice austerity.
But if you want joy,
Be joyful.

Eat, drink and be merry
Sounds about right to me.