It is in the small things we see it.The child's first step,as awesome as an earthquake.The first time you rode a bike,wallowing up the sidewalk.The first spanking when your heartwent on a journey all alone.When they called you crybabyor poor or fatty or crazyand made you into an alien,you drank their acidand concealed it.
Later,if you faced the death of bombs and bulletsyou did not do it with a banner,you did it with only a hat tocover your heart.You did not fondle the weakness inside youthough it was there.Your courage was a small coalthat you kept swallowing.If your buddy saved youand died himself in so doing,then his courage was not courage,it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.
Later,if you have endured a great despair,then you did it alone,getting a transfusion from the fire,picking the scabs off your heart,then wringing it out like a sock.Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,you gave it a back ruband then you covered it with a blanketand after it had slept a whileit woke to the wings of the rosesand was transformed.
Later,when you face old age and its natural conclusionyour courage will still be shown in the little ways,each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen,those you love will live in a fever of love,and you'll bargain with the calendarand at the last momentwhen death opens the back dooryou'll put on your carpet slippersand stride out.
~ Anne Sexton ~
(The Awful Rowing Toward God)