Musings of a Future Librarian: The Truth We Hide–An Analysis of George David Clark’s poem, “Washing Your Feet”

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Upon reading the title of George David Clark’s poem, “Washing Your Feet”  my mind involuntarily brought forth images of Pope Francis in thick white linens, bowing his head to kiss the soft skin on soaked feet. This motif of intimacy and purity captured in these reverent moments introduced by the title,  do not halt when we enter the poem, but rather continue into the first quatrain — in which the speaker addresses us stating, “Reader, they are dirty, you’ve come so far” ( L 1). The ambiguity presented via “dirty” and “far”  is explained later in this stanza, through the descriptions of the filth humanity tends to tread through, and via the reference to the sandals of Jesus, that carried him on his journey through life. However, before Clark provides us with these bouts of concrete images and biblical references, he suspends us in our own truth, asking us to consider where we have come from. Clark does this well by paralleling our sins to the smut we’ve sunk our feet in.

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