Thursday, June 30, 2011

A poem on the occasion of the 4th of July


A poem on the occasion of the 4th of July

The bee balm are bursting in air—
fireworks above the bright stars
of evening primrose. At dusk fireflies
flare up like breaths of economy
among these bulwarks
of gallantly parading flowers.

   What madness to erupt and effuse
   for hours, even days on end

the fireflies seem to say as they
hold then release their neon light.

Oh, which is right?
The greed I feel for
the glare of light now, all—

or the occasional throbbing of it, in its
transience, like the firefly’s?



hedgewitch said...

Perhaps both? As the mood takes one, always, but each has a place, a message,for the observer (or the poet) to decode. There are times when abundance works, of course, and times when it is overkill. I think your monardas are on the plus side of the equation. At least, any neighborhood bees surely think so. This reminds me a bit of that verse in Stevens' 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird--the song, or just after? It's important, I think, to ask that question.

Vagabonde said...

Lovely poem. The pink wildflower is beautiful. Have a great 4th of July and enjoy it fully.

Maureen said...

Happy 4th of July, Ruth. Thank you for the loveliness you add to the wide web of blog writing.

Old 333 said...

Very nice, both picture and poem! Like little fireworks indeed, those flowers. Lovely. And thanks for sharing your work out here!

Brendan said...

Like Rilke's Orpheus who "obeys" by "overstepping," this abundance is more than a whiff can manage. What a declaration of freedom in this small ecosystem of infinite bounds and bounty. What madness to erupt and effuse, indeed. What were we thinking of, walking by with such purpose to contain it all somehow, perhaps in a poem? As if ... You got me waving my sparkler ... Brendan

Marcie said...

I can feel the summer heat. And - what a lovely ode to the 4th..fireworks and all!

Barb said...

Well, for sure I'm more inclined to the fireflies' "occasional throbbing," but I do seem to gravitate to those who give off a "glare of light." Your Bee Balm do look like fire crackers!

Emille said...

Does yoru first line refer to "the bombs bursting in air"? For the life of me, I drawing a blank right now about the first part of the song - even though I'm Dutch I sang with the choir the yearly 4th of July parade songs:)

Arti said...

Have a bright and illuminated July 4th, Ruth! No matter how it glows, momentarily or sustained glare, it's light that's precious, and which we yearn for. While you celebrate your national day, we your northerly neighbors are celebrating our Canada Day July 1. Our guests of honor? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate. They are in Ottawa now and will come to Cowtown next week for our annual Calgary Stampede. Some of Arti's clan might be able to see them up close and personal too!

Ruth said...

Hedgewitch, most definitely the light comes in fullness sometimes, and at others quietly, intermittently. But it's funny, I think, how at times I have sought it as if I could have it fully, at all times. These days I'm happy if I see the glow now and then. Thanks for reading and as always for your good thoughts and reflections.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Vagabonde. We'll be at the cottage with my extended family. You have a great 4th in Atlanta too.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Maureen, and thank you so much for your always kind, artistic and literary presence.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Peter. We love these flowers, which we usually call monarda. I'm really enjoying your poems too. Thanks for reading.

Ruth said...

Brendan, what were we thinking? But I go on thinking it, wanting it all. And yet I turn when saturated, the way babies do when you hold them and they refuse to look you in the eye. They know they've had enough for a while.

Then there's Eckhart Tolle who got all the light at once and didn't move from a park bench for like 18 months.

Thanks for waving your sparkler with my celebration (of something quite other than America's birthday).

Ruth said...

Thanks, Marcie, have a beautiful weekend!

Ruth said...

Thanks, Barb. Your comment reminds me of something my mom used to say: Others may, you cannot. I always felt, Why can't I?

Ruth said...

Yes, Emille! Thanks for noticing. The fifth line of the Star Spangled Banner is And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air . . I pulled a few other words from it: gallantly, glare, bright stars.

How interesting that you sang our national anthem!

Ruth said...

Thanks, Arti. We'll celebrate the holiday weekend with my extended family at the lake. That's pretty great about your special guests coming to Calgary! Maybe this is the first of their official visits to the commonwealth. I hope you get a good peek at them.

My poem is mostly about the light I look for, sometimes it comes in glimpses, making me want all of it always.

Happy Canada Day!

erin said...

the greed moves us through like hands to ladder rungs. it is our motor, this our happy consumption of joy.


and thank god for it. and thank god for it.

you are a beautiful soul.

(my kids just pulled out in the U-haul and texted us, Happy Canada day. i laugh. is it? my family is my country. i shall set off fireworks greedily.)


Friko said...

Happy 4th July, dear Ruth.

Which is right? I don't know, whatever feels right at the time. Like the firefly, trust your instincts.

who said...

it's like you're on a nevering endering spree with your images and poetry Ruth. There is no such thing as greed in heaven, there is not anything that becomes spoiled because of too much understanding.

if you do understand, and your labor and intent is to help others so that they understand, than any angel you wrestle with will loose.

and the only choices left to make will be which of your wildest dreams to take, as a road to the life of the living. Even then, you don't have to choose unless you want to.

I hope you and your family enjoy this holiday weekend.

Oliag said...

Two of my favorite early summer things...bee balm and fireflies...and I just noticed today that my bee balm is bursting! Lovely photos:)

Happy weekend and 4th of July Ruth!

George said...

Questions, questions! I think you know that I would choose the latter answer, having as I do a distinct preference for embracing the transience of all things and knowing that nothing worth possessing can ever be possessed. Have a wonderful holiday with your family, Ruth.

Susan said...

Oh! Now I'm wishing once again that my bee balm had not gotten swallowed up by the echinacea! I think a visit to the nursery is in order today! It will be a perfect fireworks display for me!

I hope your family reunion/4th of July is wonderful and bursting with family love and love for country! I'm missing mine this year. :(

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

So lovely.
I have bursting bee balm myself.

ds said...

You are a balm, my friend, and we gravitate toward you like butterflies--like fireflies. Greedily soaking up the sun you do, and also the flickering. Both are right.

Happy happy 4th of July!

Miss Jane said...

"the greed I feel for the glare of right now"
So interesting that you use the word "greed" here. I think hedge said it best in suggesting both blazing forth and occasionally glowing were appropriate.
We bloom where we are planted. We only have to be our true selves, however that manifests.
My bee balm has not yet bloomed. I wanted to give my sister grapefruit sorbet with a few petals of bee balm on top. I told her this and she said, "No, no, not yet, they're not yet in blossom." And, somehow, although she has passed away, I feel a certain peace in waiting and watching the garden and how it may bloom and grow, without fretting about which plants have thrived and which ones are slow or swallowed this year.
Thank you for the poem.

who said...


it's still excellent poetry and eye for artistry talented photography but I didn't see the "eyes" and other unmistakable signature features of THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER in those flower pictures. How could you? now it all makes sense.

The same way that Albrecht Dürer included one of the Monster's characteristic henchmen in the Wing of a Blue Roller and also between his fingers of his self portrait.

I am not an idiot! and I can tell for sure when an image is the handy work of the devil (or possibly God laughing: but I cannot tell if he is laughing with me or at me)

whatever 1/3 of the scenario it be: devil, God laughing with or God laughing at, I am now extremely miffed Ruthi!

Like I said,

still great poetry and beautiful photography. And I still hope you and your family enjoy your holiday. It's the insinuations to my microscopic primary introduction to God that I am not currently sure whether or not I am happy about.

if this is about me using a line you wrote with "fiches on fences" and me writing "inches off fences" I already admitted to my line being taken directly from yours and morphemed. You said it was alright, that you didn't care because I had altered the stolen line enough to not get caught so I honestly do not know the origin of deep seated anger towards me that has now surfaced.

you, you, you phonetical sound of beta positioned character of Alphabe keyper (who if it wasn't for the B being the chiral hand of E I could just say "Bee" before the Word Keeper)

and I am not really mad, unless they're going to kill me for knowledge of much of their secrets. And they should NOT, because I did NOT steal them, I just used the wrong literature to research them.

Surely they would not begrudge such a minor mistake, in my literature indulgises

Jen said...

Such beauty! A new follower, Jen

The Solitary Walker said...

Well, you've written some sensational poems while I've been away in Ireland over the past two weeks. I've just been reading them, and will go back to them. I'm astonished as ever at the stream of your output right now - and at its originality.

Ruth said...

Erin, give us all. May the longing never end, for then what would we be?

Yes, your family is your country. Me too, mine is mine. Strangely, mine are hugging the coasts, parenthesizing me today. And yours are here in my land, somewhere. God bless them. And you, my friend.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Friko. Follow your soul, and yes, it change with the circumstances.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Dusti, I appreciate that: light = understanding. Yes. And there is no such thing as too much of it.

Have a nice holiday, my friend!

Ruth said...

Beautiful, Oliag! Happy 4th of July to you!

Ruth said...

Thank you, dear George. We walk through this bittersweet life together, longing for the light, knowing it comes and goes, and our hands open and close.

Ruth said...

Susie, oh I'm sorry you're missing your family reunion this year! Soon you will tell me all about your weekend and we will catch up on everything.

We moved our bee balm a few years ago, and mournfully we did not see it come back. But suddenly it has jumped up this year, and we are so happy.

I can't wait to see your garden this weekend!

Ruth said...

Thanks, Pamela. Happy 4th to you and Edward in your beautiful garden.

Ruth said...

DS, your warmth and kindness to me are a balm, I don't know what I'd do without you. The way your heart embraces so widely, yes, all the varied carols.

Happy happy 4th of July to you!

Ruth said...

Miss Jane, oh your words. The glare and the gentle glow, they come and go. We know which is right in the given moment. Yes.

What a lovely epicurean delight you envisioned for your dear sister. That vision, both visual and taste-full, becomes a new way of seeing, and welcoming the transience of your garden, and your sister. It's beautiful, and so insightful. Thank you for sharing it.

Ruth said...

Dusti. :-)

We stand on one another's shoulders. And you are a universe in a grain of sand.

What a universe of language you are.

Happy 4th to you out there in god's country, my friend.

Ruth said...

Welcome and thank you, Jen. It's an honor to have you here, and to visit your world. I look forward to more of what you share as well.

Ruth said...

Dear, long lost Robert. How can two weeks feel like such a long time? I wondered where you'd trekked off to, pretty certain you were happily using your feet to advantage and would come back to share about it. I will off to read about your adventures now.

Thank you for such kind attention to my poems, and for your enthusiasm. You know I admire your poetic sensibilities (especially when you admire mine!).

Ginnie said...

Did it really come and go just like that? Suddenly I have a tear...and a smile. Thanks for your part in this 4th. Thanks for the 'madness.'

BTW, we had a perfect 13-hour drive back last night. Perfect except for the deer that passed in front of me during 'my watch.' He was so close, darting across the road from left to right, I couldn't see his legs. A second later.... I winced and my heart stopped.

Stratoz said...

Bee Balm!