Friday, June 17, 2011

Poem: Ars Poetica


Ars Poetica

A poem makes the impossible

The poet becomes
a flying proboscis

extracting nectar
from material and

immaterial things.
Then comes the metamorphosis

of the honey. Or
a fly in the attic

descends onto a dusty old book,
which is really the poet,

and the fly’s nomadic feet feel
at home

on the mellow skin of her pages,
as light and moveable

as glyphs and black letters.
Or three minds

become three blackbirds
of a silhouetted tree

transposing notes
into black flames

breathed onto the musical score
of a telephone line.

We know what becomes
of what is written,

the little curled tongues floating

on the current of creaking
and arid

They are firebirds

whose truth-wings
burn, dissolving into us

in ash, and then one day
right here in the wet ink

from our pollen-laden pen
get reconstituted

into the dewy surprise
of a just-born flyer.



Maureen said...

To see poetry in all things. Yes!

Lovely, inspired piece, Ruth. Great imagery.

elizabeth said...

An excellent poem! sprightly and exact.
Well done!

hedgewitch said...

How well you understand the process, the voice, and all the melody behind it, which sings in your words. The whole poem is a firebird, Ruth. I also want to quote the old saw--"the difficult we do at once, the impossible takes a little longer."

EcoGrrl said...

gorgeous - is this your photo as well? i love it !

Pat said...

I love this part, "transposing notes
into black flames

breathed onto the musical score
of a telephone line."


steven said...

ruth - i'm taken by your ability to step back into the meta-language of a poet writing poetry about a poet writing poetry! steven

Arti said...

Oh Ruth, what sync. I was trying to take photos of a bee when I was taking pics of all the flowers I've just posted. But of course, I could never have captured it so sharply as you've done here. Wow, what an amazing photo. And your poem, the imageries are ingenious. I really like them. "The poet extracting nectar from material and immaterial things... the metamorphosis..." and the transposing... changes into musical images. Rich imagination indeed.

Nelson said...

"a flying proboscis
extracting nectar...."

Ruth, your photo shows a "flying proboscis" doing something more like "grabbing hold of the nectar as if her life depended on it...."

The way you have embraced the muse tells me that this IS your life. Bravo! You fly, girl!

deb colarossi said...

Where is all of this coming from... how are you doing this?
I am in awe.

Helena White said...

My first visit here! Lovely! I think I'll stay...

missing moments said...

Oh Ruth ... such another beauty! Not just that incredible photo but the words ... your words 'the poet becomes a flying proboscis extracting nectar' ... awesome!

ds said...

Oh, Ruth, you firebird! Burning up and starting anew each with each poem. Brilliant. Brava!!

Anonymous said...

At first I agree with Arti`s words about your perfect and beautiful photo.
Secondly my English is too poor for saying anything about your poems, but this one I was able to read and understand and do it so very much admiring your talents.
My husband told just, that somebody had written in a newspaper, that he had heard in US a psalm and he was wondering, did Sibelius take a melody from your old psalm to his Finlandia hymn:) Be Still, My Soul and This Is My Song, but which one has your mom`s words? I have lost this link, can you give it again?
Nice, happy weekend to you Ruth and Don!

Ruth said...

Maureen, I believe you and I share this 'in all things'.

Ruth said...

Welcomepoetess Elizabeth. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Hedgewitch, I didn't know the Navy Seabees saying (yes, that's where it came from, apparently), I like it quite a lot.

This all makes me wonder if poets can be anything other than optimists.

Thanks so much for your response to my poem.

Ruth said...

Hi, EcoGrrl, thanks! Yes, I took this shot of the bee in the goldenrod a couple summers ago, right after Don gave me a macro lens for my birthday.

Ruth said...

Pat, thanks, my friend. I appreciate you reading so much.

Ruth said...

Steven, thanks. I've always wanted to write an ars poetica, but I hadn't planned on this one or thought about it much and then it wanted to be written. It's fun to think about the process.

Marja said...

Very clever. Talking about poetry, you're a great poet. Love the picture too. My granddad would have loved it He was a beekeeper

Ruth said...

Arti, thanks. Boy do these little fellas move around a lot. I must have taken two dozen shots of the bee in the goldenrod a couple years ago with the new macro lens Don gave me.

Thanks for reading the poem, and for your response, very much.

Ruth said...

Nelson, oh thank you for a big happy smile, big brother. Your attentions here mean so much to me.

Ruth said...

Deb, hello, sweet woman. I love seeing you. You bring such kindness and warm enthusiasm.

Your question may be rhetorical, but my inspiration comes from Rumi, Rilke, poet friends in blogs, and the great house of poets feeding us every moment, especially birds, bamboo, goldenrod, timothy grass, turkey vultures, barns, sky, pines, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Ruth said...

Welcome, Helena, thank you for such a kind visit.

Susan said...

First, the bee photo is stunning! Gorgeous!

"...transposing notes
into black flames

breathed onto the musical score
of a telephone line."

I love that!

Ruth said...

Reena, well thank you!

Ruth said...

DS, your kind enthusiasm spurs me on! Thank you.

Ruth said...

Dear Leena, thank you on both counts.

I do not know about the other hymns to Sibelius' tune Finlandia. My mother's is "A Christian Home."

You have a beautiful weekend in your Finlandia too.

Ruth said...

Marja, thanks for reading and appreciating the poem and photo. My father-in-law was a beekeeper. I admire that job and the beautiful images of the gear, the spray. It's romantic visually.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Susie!

Did I ever tell you when I was very little I sat on the piano bench watching my mother transpose her piano writings to blank music sheets? She'd play a phrase, then pen in the notes on the graph. Play the phrase again, fill in more notes. Over and over. I sat there spellbound. Then later in the day I would pound out the tunes on the piano. I was three. (Too bad that didn't make me a prodigy.)

Brendan said...

A gorgeous comb of truth here, Ruth, dripping with nature's sweetness. No difference between our nature and nature's, so why not the have the art replete the work of bees, an instinct for creation which feeds and furthers the tribe? As Rilke said, we are the bees of the invisible; firebirds arising out of darkness carrying poems in our beaks to carry back to and fortify the nest. Beautiful work: I read it and feel preened. -- Brendan

Ruth said...

Ah, thanks, Brendan. Dunno why winged creatures speak to me so, but I just 'fly' with it. I really love opening to the art of creatures, and those other [humans] who have gone before and write into our heart-minds (like Hillman). It is also exciting to drink the work of friends, like you, that nurtures and feeds my own work.

Anonymous said...
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Louise Gallagher said...

Oh my. All I can say -- as your poem leaves me breathless and speechless is... WOW!


And that photo is exquisite.


Anonymous said...

Leena said...
Thank you for your answer and sending your gifted mother`s words of this hymn!
I found other "Finlandia hymns" from YouTube, in this link a young man sings:

And here Mahalia Jackson sings the same hymn:

and here sings Joan Baez:

I can`t follow their words, what they are saying :) But that Mahalia`s voice makes me to have goose bumps.

Many kind of feelings are inside me, when I am listening to them :)

(I have to find out this correct linking in these comments, sorry about that!)

Amy@Souldipper said...

Your talent amazes... I read and wonder, "How does she crawl into their/its very being and look out through those eyes?"

lw said...

i think the poet only makes the impossible SEEM possible. nature is above the poet and truly makes it so

Ginnie said...

Aha! Now that I see you have a macro lens, maybe YOU can show me how to use mine...while at the cottage. Your bee is total inspiration!