Judith Offer 


What I Have to Say


What I have to say cannot be heard over a roar.
You will have to turn down your TV, take off your earphones,
And close your calendar.

What I have to say won’t rise in the market,
Where agents and salesmen and women of value
Know they have heard it all.

Your mouth may form oaths;  your printer may make copies;
Your boss may threaten consequences;  your doctor
May prescribe death.

What I have to say is:  none of these will be remembered.
Something is simpler and stronger and softer and sweeter
Than all of these.

What I have to say is:  lean toward the universe,
Listen to the quiet, bend to the morning,
Honor yourself.

That is all I have to say.





Judith Offer has had two daughters, five books of poetry and dozens of plays. (Eighteen of the latter, including six musicals, have been produced.)  She has read her poetry at scores of poetry venues, but is particularly delighted to have been included in the Library of Congress series and on “All Things Considered”, on NPR.  Her writing reflects her childhood in a large Catholic family—with some Jewish roots—her experience as teacher, community organizer, musician, historian, gardener, and all-purpose volunteer, and her special fascination with her roles of wife and mother.  Her most recent book of poetry, called Double Crossing, is poems about Oakland, California, where she lives with her husband, Stuart.