alskuefhaih
asoiefh

Friday, January 28, 2011

Quiet, dear soul

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Quiet,
dear soul,

spiraling

through a palace
of angels --
their thundering,
bidding heartbeats,
their lightning glances
and their blinding,
stair-stepping
feathery flames.

Come out
to the empty field
in the cool morning
and listen
to nothing,
no voice,
no song,
no sound

and almost no
wind
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52 comments:

Susan said...

Beautiful images. :)

M.L. Gallagher said...

I'm so glad to meet you on that field.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Much of this poem seems to speak to me from my very own personal mythology … Perhaps it is a shared mythology after all. Are you sure you wrote it, Ruth? Or just took down the dictation you heard out there in the empty field? ;)

Yes, to listen in that empty field, to truly, truly listen to the “nothing that is not there and the nothing that is” as in those ineffaceable last lines of the Wallace Stevens poem you so love and that seem to whisper in the almost non-existent wind. A beautiful, arresting poem. The last bit, “and almost no wind” is so evocative. Is there almost no wind outside or inside the poetess? Or is the poem telling us that such distinctions no longer have any meaning?

kenju said...

Lovely poem and I like the photo too.

George said...

Wonderful, Ruth! I could see you walking across that empty field in the lovely photo, and I know that, in listening to nothing — no voice, no song, no sound, and almost no wind — you heard the echo of something timeless, wordless, and reassuring.

The Bug said...

I am enamored of quiet. Sometimes, sitting at home when Dr. M is working late, I pause & think - music? tv? Nah - I like to hear my thoughts...

JeannetteLS said...

Thank you for this poem. I printed it out and put it on the fridge for now--a reminder to quiet myself. I opened the kitchen window to let in the blanketed quiet of the woods after yesterday's storm. To listen to nothing... sometimes it's the only way to hear a quiet overwhelming truth. Your poetry is spare and lush at the same time--how on earth do you do that? Thank you.

Maureen said...

I echo the others. This is lovely and delicate and enriching.

The image is beautiful.

Terresa said...

A quiet poem for a quiet time of year, January, its end, with nothing but an empty field to cool ourselves in, with the wind.

Love this, Ruth.

Char said...

so beautiful

Woman in a Window said...

I see you in my Reader and I laugh, for I'm not sure if I've responded to you here. I know I've responded to you, for I read you earlier, and I felt you, your words, felt the wind-no-wind, but can't remember if I left little black words.

Gorgeous.

xo
erin

Julie said...

I love your poem, Ruth. It is so beautiful. I especially love the idea of listening to nothing. It may seem dull for me to talk about structure, but as a poet, I cannot help but notice those lovely line breaks:) It goes so well with the picture and walks me along in quiet wonder. Gorgeous and refreshing.

Dan Gurney said...

Oh my. So beautiful, Ruth!

This poem amounts an invitation to practice samatha (concentration) meditation where the mind becomes very very calm and quiet. Your final lines, describe it quite tellingly:

Come out
to the empty field
in the cool morning
and listen
to nothing,
no voice,
no song,
no sound

and almost no
wind.

That's what it's like. The breath becomes so subtle it's like that:
Almost
no wind (breath).

The state of absorption can be almost intoxicating... calling to mind Rumi's poem today about wine.

Thanks, Ruth!

freefalling said...

Ruth - is that the moon from around the 19 Jan?

Barb said...

To reach that dawn calm would be worth all the soul's spiraling. The cadence of your words ends in a wonderful hush. (The photo is gorgeous!)

who said...

a brilliant poem that communicates so much more than can ever be discerned in one attempt to understand all it can mean, even if that single attempt was an eternal one.

never will an understandering be complete without a minimum or two.

I love this one Ruth, and like others I wonder about the author.

right now I feel they are actually your words, your discovery that you are just not laying claim to.

Amy @ Soul Dipper said...

Ahhhhhh...a feast of silence. Thank you.

Vagabonde said...

A beautiful poem with a beautiful image – so pure, so calm and peaceful … and cold. I can’t relate too much with it today after having been out in the sun looking at all the tall palm trees, taking pictures of vivid flowers and watching the animated life around here in southern California (in the high 70s today.) This is a big country.

Arti said...

Beautiful once more, words and picture. Yours is truly schronizing, the pairing of meaning or association of unlikely entities, as you've explained in a previous post. For here, another title just came to me: The Sound of Silence. Thanks again, Ruth.

Deborah said...

There's a little bit of Rumi here, Ruth. An image that pulls me in and words that are quiet in their spareness.

Ruth said...

Thank you, my dear Susie. :)

Ruth said...

Me too, Louise. Thank you. I look forward to catching up at your blog this weekend.

Ruth said...

Lorenzo, maybe there isn't a better response to a piece of writing than to hear that it speaks to you from your own personal mythology. I think much about how it is that we, as humans, share one another's stories, in such personal ways, even when our experiences and circumstances are vastly different.

As for authoring the poem, or taking dictation . . . I have begun to feel that there may be little distinction between the two.

There is probably no way for me to imagine winter now, or to imagine myself really, without the lens of Stevens' poem, just as it probably isn't possible to distinguish between the wind-breath outside, or inside. I don't say this out of any kind of haughty zen-ness. It just is. I so identify with that field.

Thank you.

Ruth said...

Thank you, kenju. Maybe we all need to cool down.

Ruth said...

Thank you, George. It is what we're looking for, always. Sometimes even when I'm in the throes of bliss, reading Rilke for instance, contemplating the most powerful heartbeats, I need to return to open space, and quiet.

Ruth said...

Dana, me too! For me, quiet is music.

Ruth said...

Welcome, and thank you, JeannetteLS. I love picturing that, the poem on the fridge (yes!), the opened window, the quiet listening. Yes, for truth, and sometimes for just nothing.

"Spare and lush" ? Thank you for a perfect compliment, for stating what it is I wish for. In a brief word: Get rid of "poetics," . . . and speak out of my heart. That's it!

Ruth said...

Maureen, thank you for your choice of words, very much.

Ruth said...

Thanks so much, Terresa. It would be nice to have the coolness when you're in the middle of the dessert heat of Nevada.

Ruth said...

Thanks for that, Char.

Ruth said...

Erin, a heart response . . . far more important than little black words. And I appreciate them both, very much.

deb said...

I'm just beyond the tree line , where there is a clearing,
a smaller field,
and I am there. In the quiet. With you. And yet alone.

I felt this deeply, Ruth.

Ruth said...

Julie, I thank you. And to talk about structure is not nothing to, and from, a poet. I appreciate very much that you noticed, and think they're "lovely." :)

Ruth said...

Dan, thank you so much for your very affirming comments. I don't study Zen Buddhism, and I'm glad to hear that there is teaching-practice that espouses the sense I have of this silent, and almost breath-less, need-presence.

Oh I love that Rumi poem, and where it takes me, the ambling back . . .

God has given us a dark wine so potent
that, we leave the two worlds. . .

Ruth said...

Letty: Nope. Guess what? It's from December 8, 2006. I take it the moon looked like this Jan. 19? Alas, since our hot tub broke, I don't go out and look at the moon as I should. Such a bad baby.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Barb. I like sharing the wonders and love of winter with you.

Ruth said...

Dusti, yay! I'm so glad you love this one.

My words, or discovered words, or words taken in dictation as Lorenzo asked, my goal in life is to shrink the gaps between and among them. To achieve art/expression/writing that dissolves boundaries having to do with "who wrote it?" so that a reader might even feel that he had written it, that is the union I long for!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Amy, yes, ahhhhhh. I needed it too.

Ruth said...

Vagabonde, thank you.

Yes, you're back on your west coast, but much farther south than your youth in San Francisco. You are still drawn to flowers, as you were then as a flower child. I think you know more about this big country of ours than I do. I have been meaning to ask if you have taken American citizenship?

Enjoy that long, slow journey at sea, my friend. Talk about quiet.

Ruth said...

Thank you for that, Deborah. I think the Rumi that is in me is sneaking into some of my writings. How can he not? I've been typing up his poems every day for nearly a year now . . . The cadence and spareness starts to sit in you.

Ruth said...

Deb, we do share our solitude. It's a blessed singularity. Thank you, my friend.

Ruth said...

Arti, you're so good at this! This one, The Sound of Silence is an oxymoron . . . or is it?

Thank you.

cathyswatercolors said...

Hi Ruth, Silence is what i like about winter,although i do miss the sound of rain and the sounds of the trains in the winter, the house sealed up tight.
Don't get me wrong, i enjoy silence,especially after a long day at work. Nothing like it ,alone with you thoughts.
xoxo cb. ( another great photo. I need to take a class! this summer hopefully. Any suggestions?)

Pauline said...

I'll bet even the angels are quiet when they stand in the middle of that field under such a moon.

Beautiful - both words and image and so suited to one another.

Marcie said...

Shhh....I don't want to disturb the silence. Shh...
And - what a stunning image!

Pat said...

So beautiful....so peaceful. I love the photo, too!

*jean* said...

beautiful reflection, ruth

Ginnie said...

I'm guessing you didn't even want us to hear your voice this time?!

ds said...

For this, I weep...the image the word pictures, the no-sound ("the nothing that is" yes, Rumi, yes, and someone else who felt the wings of angels and whom it almost seems you are trying to comfort).
For all that is present in this, the poem of no
wind

Jeanie said...

Listen to nothing. I love to do that. Especially at the lake. I confess, I usually have noise around me, even if I am not listening, because any noise is better than the noise in my ears always. But sometimes, when it's late at night, the boats have gone home and all you can hear is -- nothing -- its amazing.

Stratoz said...

wonderful images in every which way

Loring Wirbel said...

The poem is crisp, concise and beautiful, and the picture seems tailor-made for it. Remarkable photograph, needs to be in print.