Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer clouds


With no apparent ferocity in their wildness,
shapes of white ash and beam

roll above and past the old house and barn,
which sag under them in rumpled pleats.

Bent peaks and gables finger the buoyant clouds
but seem too weak to hook, release

and catch them: armloads of damp laundry,
which through summer centuries stay daily fresh.

When I was a girl in a small town, one
summer night I dreamt that the moon came

close enough to touch. Clouds hover today,
almost brushing my head,

until something shakes them out.
Heavily they fall. For a while I stand.


20 comments:

  1. I really like this. Love the 'armloads of damp laundry' metaphor. And this: 'When I was a girl in a small town, one / summer night I dreamt that the moon came / close enough to touch.' And that last line.

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    1. Robert, I am happy you like this. It's been a while since I've written, while other expressions have been finding their way out of me. I don't want to lose touch with this something that wants to come out, and it really wanted to come out. This was a lot of work. And you know, I did not know what it was I wanted to say. Actually, I did not know what the clouds wanted to say. Funny how that goes.

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  2. This is exactly what I needed to read today. What a generous gift this poem is.
    Thank you.

    I just read "Not Poor" again. As we truly are.

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    1. am, how great that you have read and received something from this poem. Listening for what must be said, whether it's while writing it or reading it, is a joyful connection. Thank you.

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  3. I have edited the poem a bit, with gratitude for a friend's suggestion, and I think the poem is much improved. I deleted the penultimate couplet, and a few words from the remaining final couplets.

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  4. i'm not sure what to say, ruth, but to say that i breathe easily with this poem.

    however, i must say more. the language in the poem is careful perfection, to paraphrase myself. (what i actually said as james read it aloud to me this morning, having already read it silently to myself, was that the language kicks ass!:)

    oh, the phrase summer centuries is also very sweet to me.))

    just yesterday i stood and watched clouds such as these, i believe. it is a timeless gesture, as is your poem.

    if this is what we receive by waiting between your posts, then i will patiently wait again - hungrily.

    xo
    erin

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    1. Erin, yes timelessness. Thank you for reading, for feeling this, and for your good and kind words.

      It's funny and strange, I think, how we humans search for deep meaning in things like clouds. Well of course deep meaning isn't in the clouds, though their meaning is profound. This process of water is incredible, how can we comprehend it? Even though I think I understand, it is still beyond me. But to search for meaning is joy. This is what the process of poetry is for me. Finding small points where the earth and life here connects with something within myself. This is really why writing poems is blissful for me.

      But it has been far away lately. Until like a little girl she was jumping up and down, asking to be let out. You are so kind to attend to my poems this way.

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  5. The clouds, the laundry, the moon--this poem is so sensual and vivid. It drifts a bit nostalgic but comes to an almost Zen-like close.
    A joy to read you again.

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    1. Miss Jane, it is great to see you here. I am happy we see glimpses of each other on FB.

      Thank you for reading, and for these connections you've made. I hear your own muse in your response. How lovely she is!

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  6. Lovely, Ruth, especially the opening lines that provide a much needed reminder that not everything "wild" is also ferocious. I also like the use of "rumpled pleats" to describe old, sagging structures on earth. Such a great metaphor! Finally, I sense that the poem is speaking, among other things, to timelessness, to things that move over and through our lives in every season and every generation.

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    1. George, thank you for reading and for responding so kindly to my poem. I was so struck by the image in a photo a friend took, of a line of trees with a house and barn, and over them these beautiful clouds (also so many gorgeous clouds all summer on my drives to and from work). The buildings (like us) age and crumble, but those clouds, remain so fresh! Well, I am just repeating myself. But truly, the ability of the earth and sky to renew themselves is inspiring. Thanks so much.

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  7. The image that came to mind as I read this delightful poem was me as a young girl stretched out on the grass of my grandmother's house finding the hidden shapes of other things in the clouds. It's good to connect with our young selves and the summer centuries (love that phrase) in this timeless way. Thanks, Ruth.

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  8. I've seen a lot of those barns, sagging in rumpled pleats. And I've seen those clouds, heavy, pregnant. And that moon, so close, touchable.

    You weave exquisite words..

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  9. Ruth,

    This is beautiful. I know you may not be describing your farm, but images of your farm, and the blue house (is it still blue?) and barn come back to my mind as I read it. While the whole poem is captivating, I particularly like the last line. 'For a while I stand' is like the ending of a film leaving the viewer with thoughts as they go.

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  10. Funny the images and memories evoked by this poem. I still see shapes in clouds (alas some of them are fierce), the rumpled pleats of old houses & barns (the language that erin says kicks ass--uh huh!!), the damp laundry of summer centuries that reminds me so of my grandmother hanging the sheets, clothespins in her mouth…
    Now the heavy clouds have fallen and you stand, will there be more poems?

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  11. This is a glorious write Ruth. The moon, clouds and sky are always such a wonderful muse. I love your blog!

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  12. How did I manage to miss this delight?
    Such a magic mage of the almost- touchable moon!
    In spirit it reminds me a little of WH Davies' immortal "Leisure" -
    What life is this if full of care/we have no time to stop and stare?

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  13. Hello, it somehow seems to keep deleting my post (though maybe it'll post 'em all, and i'll be mortified). But i had a question concerning the Rilke blog: I've never followed a blog before, and i can't figure out a way to view it sequentially, w/o resorting to scrolling down, hitting 'January', and clicking. Is there an easier way to have a linear layout at hand, or is this way it has to be if you want to start at the beginning. Thanks for your time, George

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    1. George, sorry about your trouble with the comment.

      There really isn't an easier way to view the Rilke blog sequentially, now that every day/post has been published. Maybe loading each day's post will become part of the ritual for you, and you will come to enjoy the anticipation. :)

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    2. Your answer made me think of Rilke- I see that he (and Rumi) are already in your bones. That's indeed what i'll do. And thanks so much for replying so quick.

      Meant to also add: I've been loving the blog- the posts as well as the comments.

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All responses are welcome.