Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Poem: I dreamt you were eating dirt


I dreamt you were eating dirt

I dreamt you were eating dirt.
But it was all right.
It had been refrigerated in earth.

My body is ten billion years old.
You were watering me with this old rain
which made us new.
Then we watched.

I am sitting on a bench in the meadow.
You are sitting in a boat on the sea.
In and out. We are the same.

Grass greens. Sea grass. Olives. Garlic.
You are weaving with your fingers.

The smell of rosemary
is not to be confused
with the sound of crows.

If I had died yesterday
would I still have dreamt last night
that you were eating dirt?
Crumbled with the stars.

Salt on your tongue. It’s my fault.
The memory of the word “snow” made me cry.

Was that Wendell Berry just now?
Soil sweetened
by his hands and his horse.

I dreamt that you were eating dirt.
Your mouth was a misty valley,
your teeth fences,
your tongue the sandy bed of the sea.

Listen to a podcast of this poem here.



João said...


just jane said...

The imagery, tastes, smells, dreams. What a wonderful way to start my day. I thank you! Peace, Jane

steven said...

ruth i was lost in the photograph and then walked flew and swam through your words of worlds within worlds. steven

Anonymous said...

a psychedelic poem, I said to myself after having read your poem. It is my favourite until now!

I send you a nice hello!


Grandmother said...

I love stanza IX. Tactile imagery.

Louise Gallagher said...

Wow! Love this poem. You lit up my day and set me sailing into the morning floating on a sea of beautiful words.


Bonnie said...

Amazing Ruth. I have to go back and savor. I have to go back and reread to discover just what tugged at my gut (I had such a visceral response) in the first read.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Ruth, what vivid imagery! I particularly struck by the final part, with its concentration of consciousness in the mouth like an infant's oceanic concsiousness--

I dreamt that you were eating dirt.
Your mouth was a misty valley,
your teeth fences,
your tongue the sandy bed of the sea.

Tess Kincaid said...

Dreams are the best fodder for poetry. This one might prove to have some fascinating interpretations. Nice piece.

erin said...

sometimes it is beyond knowing that reality exists. this is one of those times.



Maureen said...

You've written a dream of vivid imagery and lyricism. I especially like stanza V and the image of dirt "crumbled with the stars".

neighbor said...

Ruth, I love all that is left in the space between words and what you say here. This is dark and mysterious, appropriate for a topic so earthy.

You're fast becoming one of my favorite poets.

I know that publication is a whole 'nuther kettle of fish, but do you have intentions to share your poetry more widely through print venues? Readers everywhere would rejoice!

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

I wish there was an emoticon for stunned, appreciative silence. Can't even bring myself to comment on this beautiful most 'telluric' of all poems. I think I'll just savor it in silence a while longer.

Full disclosure: I have been known to eat dirt and snow and rosemary, all at the same time, just a couple of months ago in fact ...

Terresa said...

"Salt on your tongue. It’s my fault.
The memory of the word “snow” made me cry."

Loved the movement in this piece. It is stunning. When is your chapbook coming out???

And Wendell Berry, everywhere I look there he is these days, what's up with that?! (Not that it's a bad thing, I love Berry...)

Terresa said...

PS: DId I mention how in love with the title of this I am? It strikes the perfect odd/intriguing notes that I adore. Love love love this...

The Solitary Walker said...

Speechless with appreciation. Really. I find this astoundingly good. One of your best.

Evelyn said...

"If I had died yesterday
would I still have dreamt last night
that you were eating dirt?
Crumbled with the stars."
I am so enchanted by your poems...

who said...

I think it's awesome, it has has an original style, leads me to specific beliefs and leaves me wanting answers to specific question.

for instance, I am left under the impression that the dirt has female symbolism because and implies a previous completion of other poems simply by the verbage as well as no mention of the howling wind swept air, blowing the salty breeze up off the water.

and strange questions, like wondering what kind of car Wendell drives and how much alphabetical sense his life must be ordered in.

only a gifted poem could say so much, with so few words, and have me repeatedly coming then going and then returning to read and still having the desire to visit each thought, and view again the video recording my mind designs for experiences such as this

thank you Ruthi

freefalling said...

I agree with Dan Gurney (although I had to read what he said 4 times to understand it!)
I love the last bit.
And I love "crumbled with the stars".
And I'm glad it's ok to eat dirt so long as it's been refrigerated in the earth.
Although, I think perhaps our dirt has been heat sterilized.
This poem doesn't make me feel sad - it makes me feel...floaty.

Amy @ Soul Dipper said...

I loved being jolted by:

"Salt on your tongue. It’s my fault.
The memory of the word “snow” made me cry."

It makes me want to know lots more.

ds said...

Was that Wallace Stevens just now, smiling?("The smell of rosemary/is not to be confused/with the sound of crows")

I. Love. Each. And. Every. Line.
(deep,deep bow)

who said...

rumbling with words with the stars

who said...

Rumbling with words with the stars like the reading out loud of an epic paella recipe. Encoded in every cell of all of her genes, rooted from cuttings of the ancient groves. The very trees from which the branch was brought, over the water by the white dove and in the name of peace symbolized by the appearance of the Holy Ghost. The Spirits were all there, to oversee the planting of The Olive Tree that in the name of Love, brought with it the time of eternity.

Ruth said...

Muito obrigada, João.

Ruth said...

Just Jane, you've made my day better too. Thank you so much.

Ruth said...

Steven, thank you. It was an adventure, dreamlike, and not. Whether it was a night dream or a day dream, I can't be sure.

Ruth said...

Hello, Renée, psychadelic! I love that. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed this poem. I enjoyed the dream very much.

Ruth said...

Mary, is there anything more lovely than a misty valley in the morning? I only have them in my memory, in photographs, in dreams, and in my imagination, in this flat but beautiful place.

Ruth said...

Louise, sailing together, thank you so much.

Ruth said...

Bonnie, I love that you had a visceral response to this poem of the body, of the earth, of the sea inside.

Ruth said...

Dan, you always bring something fresh in your way of seeing . . . an infant's oceanic consciousness. Thank you, that really opened this up for me, a new kind of consciousness.

Ruth said...

Tess, I agree, dreams present juxtapositions we might never come up with otherwise. And yes, I have some interpretations I could go into.

Ruth said...

Erin, thank you for meeting me in the meadow.

Ruth said...

Maureen, thank you. It's strange, but when I read this now, it's as if it was a shooting star. Came and went quickly.

Ruth said...

Hi, Neighbor. I am honored and touched by your words. Thank you. If I do anything with a book, it will likely be by my own hand, something small for friends and family. Working on it, but it's daunting to find enough good pieces to fill a book.

Ruth said...

Lorenzo, thank you for meeting me in the silence of the meadow, where dreams meet earth and sea on that bench. It's a very special circle, a bowl, a center, where meeting the world is pivotal.

So, you had a smorgasbord, a goulash, a succotash of earthy treats a couple of months ago, with frosting to boot. I hope it was yummy, and if so, I hope you can eat some again soon.

Susan said...

This is a brilliant poem! So much to feel and taste! I've read it four times now and each time I discover/understand something new.

You definitely have a lot of the Earth sign mixed in with your Fire sign, being on the cusp, although judging by this poem, it should be Earth and Water.

The natives are getting restless for a volume!


A Cuban In London said...

"My body is ten billion years old.
You were watering me with this old rain
which made us new.
Then we watched."

This has to be one of the better and more poetic references to the eternal cycle of life I've encountered in a looooooong time. Many thanks for sharing your beautiful poetry with us.

Greetings from London.

Brendan said...

So so fine, Ruth ... Plush and lush and verdant yet soft as a whisper in the early morning's ear. This is poetry of the earth which Wendell and Mary Oliver and James Wright and May Swenson heard in their ears, but you said it perfectly here. "Delicacy." - Brendan

Ruth said...

Terresa, you humble me by your exuberance, and I love it. Thank you so much.

This Wendell Berry treasure, coal company and university protestor, god love him. Oh to see him work a plow. I would pay money. But thankfully we have his poems, which till our hearts like no other.

Ruth said...

Robert, thank you so much for that, my friend.

Ruth said...

Evelyn, you are very kind. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Dusti-who. I am happy other poems, worlds and visions came out of this poem to you. This came suddenly, in around fifteen minutes. But I think the previously written poem was in the wind and the lightning. Maybe I should write more from this place, with just what I know inside, that is written on my heart. It means so much to me that it conjured those things for you. Yes, there is much femaleness in the earth. I can't seem to extricate myself from all things about childbirth, the earth, being a woman, a mother, a grandmother. Thank you, Dusti.

Ruth said...

Letty, I read Dan's comment several times too. I simply love the image of the infant's oceanic consciousness. Wow.

Well, you have hot dirt in Australia, my dear, and that's OK too, hot and dry.

Floaty is good, I think. That's kind of how I felt writing it too.


Ruth said...

Amy, let your imagination fly. :-)

Thank you.

Ruth said...

ds, my dear. Yes, there are blackbirds in them there crows. And Mark Strand's Sargentville Notes, and Rob Brezsny's pronoic rants. And you, and every one and thing. That is really how it feels to be 10 billion years old. Even your breath is everyone's.

Ruth said...

Dusti, hi again. Paella! How did you know??

Now you have me back at Rilke, in the olive grove, with Jesus. We're all written in the trees, those old, old trees. I saw them in Jerusalem and the Galilee. You would love them. We have Russian olives in the meadow. I think their fruits are not edible by humans, but the flowers in spring knock me out with their fragrance. It's my olive grove of solitude, Dusti.

Ruth said...

Susie, the earth, the earth. Oh Susie, the earth! I have tears. (water and salt) Thank you for seeing what you see, and seeing more. It feels like that to me too, I can't explain it. It was a momentary write, and there is much, much of me in it.

I'm workin' on it, the volume. Loooonger than I thought, but I'll keep on. Thank you for your encouragement, so much.

Ruth said...

Cuban, how grand it feels to receive such a compliment from you. Thank you so very much.

Ruth said...

Brendan, the earth poets till the ground, oh they make my world so sweet. If my voice begins to sound in harmony, one with their chorus, I rejoice. Thank you, sea-poet-lover-of-the-druidic-earth-friend.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

I hope you are considering posting a podcast of this poem, Ruth.

Ruth said...

Done, Lorenzo. Gracias. :-)

Julie said...

WONDERFUL! Ruth, you have just made my day (as usual). I hardly have words to tell you how much I love this one. The last line is five star powerful, and I love how you "answer" with those succinct last lines in each stanza. "Crumbled with the stars" is fantastic. Sister poet, you are ringing poetry month in with a beautiful chime!

Oliag said...

Your poem is like my one of my dreams...many different yet inter-related fragments of a whole...Sometimes I struggle to put the pieces together and sometimes it is easy...

I am going to enjoy your poetry month so much!

Ruth said...

O Julie, you do me such an honor with your big and wonderful words. Your praise just knocks me out. I admire your work so much. Thank you sister-poet. It's great to see you back.

Ruth said...

Oliag, there you are. I've been watching your XOXOX posts. I've been thinking about you.

Yes, I see that this poem is like dreams, mine too, when you try to hold on to the bits after awaking. Thank you for joining me here, my friend. I've missed your posts, though I've enjoyed what you see through your lens at XOXOX.

Eliza Keating said...

Hello...just had to leave you a wee note to let you know what an incredible piece of writing this is ....ELiza Keating

deb colarossi said...


am going to pour myself a glass of red now.

Loring Wirbel said...

Ha ha - WAY cool! Your work is awesome, you need to pull a chapbook together soon, digital or otherwise....