I think you are asking a really important question here Cass... and you think about it with real empathy. It is this kind of thinking that can produce a great story that can in fact go some of the way towards remedying this incapacity to act that we all feel from time to time. You are not alone in this. But turn it to good use. I strongly suggest you begin trying to compose a story using these ingredients... entering fully into the mind of that woman... that could be a really cathartic experience for you and could powerfully help you next time you meet a similar situation.
S.- that is a fabulous piece of writing. Be sure to put your name at the end of it. This ensures that it is covered by Commons Copyright. I love the atmosphere you are able to create through both the movement of your sentences and your evocative word choice. Well done.... and yes, we have your URL, but this key entry was missed.
Dan, that is a fabulous poem. So pleased that the theme, together with Levertov and Frost, spoke to you so deeply and so directly. Your poem attests to this and you have developed a powerful use of form to capture those moments of experience that are really precious to us. Well done! Keep up this creative response to your literature reading.