Saturday, July 16, 2011

Poem: Blue star highway


Blue star highway

For a few weeks of summer I drive
or ride my bike between blue chicory flowers,
like lookouts by the wayside. Two redwing
blackbirds chase a crow from the field
across the road. They guard
their own world, unlocked as it is.

What kingdom is this
I ride through, fenced with blue sentinels,
thin and frail, who keep nothing in, nothing
out, common blue stitches in a common cloth
of earth, their roots harvested for poor
prisoners’ coffee, the brew of everyman,
everywoman. What love

like a crossroads
is here where the human with
nature and spirit meet, what crucibles
forged these stars, glaze of tiles,
calm blue flames lighting the path
into Beauty, into the star of self,

the kingdom where the commoner
is royal, and the redwing blackbird
is farmer-king who scoffs his wing at me
incredulously as I snap their picture,
kneeling, as if for knighthood,
when he has work to do.

Note: "Blue flower" is a symbol in Romanticism of inspiration, desire, longing for beauty, and the thinking and feeling self, as first introduced by Novalis in his novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen. For more information about blue flower, including what it represented for C.S. Lewis, read the wiki article here.



ds said...

Ah, this is the counterpoint to your last poem. The quiet blue to the angry red (to which my response would burst the walls of the comment box & must come in another form) in a world unlocked. You can ride your bicycle in peace knowing this is for everyman and everywoman: true spirituality.
Sehnsucht such a beautiful, expressive word...

Thank you.

Bruce Barone said...

This is so beautiful. Can I repost it?

missing moments said...

your words speak beauty
your pictures allow me to see the beauty

I love love that second picture of the blue flowers!

Maureen said...

Lovely, Ruth. There are many wonderful images here: "common blue stitches in a common cloth/ of earth" is one I especially like.

As I have an interest in what flowers and colors symbolize, I appreciate the additional commentary.

hedgewitch said...

I love this, the feeling of entering a kingdom, especially eloquent in the last stanza, that keeps none out and grants all its benison. Such a joy to ride among the knights and winged kings and surely a fair lady or two, conveyed so lyrically here.

Nelson said...

Ruth, you have gifted me with a wonderful new meaning for the color blue, the blue flower a symbol for the feeling self; blue starlight shining, quietly yet royally confronting sadness....

And, it just occurred to me, the sky is blue, chicory blue, if you will! As we said eons ago, "oh, man!"

George said...

Lovely, Ruth, and I'm so glad to see a poem about these the magnificent blue chicory flowers that line the paths of most of my local walks, including a 12-miler that I did this morning. I never thought about the chicory flowers as sentinels, but I like your imagery, for I always feel a sense of being protected when surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Margaret said...

You are my blue flower of inspiration! I love the freedom of this poem. I really liked ... "the kingdom where the commoner is royal" That is what nature does to the soul! Makes us feel grand. And I LOVE the scoffing blackbird... very apt.

Arti said...

Oh Ruth I love this poem. And I feel a similar way as ds... this post complements your last one. Here is the kingdom without walls, beauty without boundaries, the great canvas of life, That our heart would lift up when we behold a "thin and frail blue sentinel" in itself says volumes.

Terresa said...

"Glaze of tiles" -- and the transporting that occurs here, that lifts like a wing, and I fly.

Ruth said...

Dear ds, in turn I thank you. Finding the word sehnsucht in the linked article provided me a beautiful reverie into the concept of longing. I even had a brief exchange with Inge about it last evening (she is German, I think you know).

And thanks for understanding the peace and 'democratic' spirituality expressed here after the last post. You know sometimes it doesn't feel the greatest to state the negative, even though it is part of your story. It feels better now that something is here to balance it out.

You always know.

Ruth said...

Oh, and ds, I look forward to 'another form.'

Ruth said...

Certainly, Bruce, I'd be honored! Thank you.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Reena. The blue, the blue! I can't get enough of it.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Maureen. I was so happy to stumble upon the concept of 'blue flower.' Amazing how these things open up whole worlds. I like contemplating what blue represents too, its calming nature, which can calm all the way down into the blues.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Hedge, so glad you enjoyed this one.

Ruth said...

Nelson, well you know (from the title alone) that you were much on my mind in this post. Oh, how beautiful: quietly yet royally confronting sadness ... It's deeply wonderful, and bittersweet.

By the way, Don and I had quite a look at how the Blue Star Highway becomes the Red Arrow Highway. You and I ought to bike ride it some day, where it changes over. Benton Harbor-ish?

Ruth said...

George, thanks. I like picturing you walking between blue chicory flowers, royally, as you prepare for Hadrian's Wall. I wonder if you will find more chicory there, protecting that ancient longlasting stone structure of a Roman way with their beautiful impermanence.

Ruth said...

Margaret, thank you for such kind words and enthusiasm for this poem. I'm glad you feel the freedom of it, which I felt writing. It was a relief after the last post. :-)

Ruth said...

Arti, thanks for reading here, after reading the last post and poem, which would be incomplete without this one, it's true.

Ruth said...

Terresa, thank you a lot for reading. We all benefit when you fly.

Susan said...

I love it that you were kneeling, as you were, in the real church, the true church of God. Beautiful counterpoint to the previous poem.

Chicory is one of my favorite wildflowers, and I didn't even know it by it's true name until a few years ago...we always called it cornflower, I suppose because it grows beside corn fields.

Poor prisoner's coffee, indeed. I found this out when we lived in Louisiana.

This blog is a book of poetry.

Ruth said...

Susie, thank you, my dear friend.

erin said...

you make me laugh at the farmer-king redwing blackbird. what impudence on our part, what indulgence, eh? but with reverance we observe.


Ruth said...

Erin, yes. It really happened this way. I was taking pictures of the chicory, and a farmer came walking up so intently, concerned. What was I taking pictures of? The chicory. The what? The chicory.

He swatted me off with his hand and turned away back to the house. Oh, is that all.

Louise Gallagher said...

Ruth, what a wonderful gift to ride on a bicycle with you experiencing the magical countryside strewn with blue.


Ruth said...

Thanks, Louise! Electric blue.

Miss Jane said...

what love like a crossroads here . . . .
And I come into the presence of grace in this world (to paraphrase Wendell Berry), and rest.
Thank You.

Ruth said...

Miss Jane, thank you for your soft presence. Wendell Berry is, perhaps, the rare poet-farmer who stops to observe even while he works (so hard). It's brilliant of you to conjure him here in your comment. The redwing blackbird in the poem is really the farmer who came rushing to see what I was photographing, and swatted his hand at me, turning away, when I told him it was the chicory.

I loved hearing about your garden details in the 'summer labor' post. Cactus in the lavender! Yes, of all things. As for the frumpy dress, my husband says no it isn't frumpy (good man), and oh it is very comfy and cool, the only thing that really matters these hot days on the farm.

Amy@Souldipper said...

Appreciate your countryside - the beauty that is spotlit with creative description. The blossom with the sun's highlight is stunning.

hames1977 said...

dear ruth,

i drew inspirations from your wonderful gift of writing quaint amd exquisite verses such like this. the nature is a vast kingdom where teh commoner are royals. what a wonderful analogy about the simplicity of how lives should be lived. thank you and this poem has brought peace for me.