Three Ontological Studies: Feet

Which is worse, the body

or the mind? Pressing, always straining

to be somewhere else:

the headlong weight of them.

But the feet


are kind, they hope

we’re trying. “No,” they say,

just, “no”— and only after hours

of bad posture and

stomping around.


It’s to themselves that they repeat

the lesson once we’ve gone to sleep —

the instep’s petalled curve,

the artless bones: The earth

is all you stand on. Every step.

Jan Zwicky’s most recent collection of poetry, The Long Walk, was published in the Oskana Series from University of Regina Press in 2016. Her books of philosophy include Wisdom & MetaphorLyric Philosophy, and Alkibiades’ Love.