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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Poem: the turquoise sea for Christmas

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I read a billboard:
Gifting made easy.
I mourned suddenly
the loss of giving.

And I thought
of the green-glazed vase
curved like cupped hands
(or your opalescent cheek)
on top of the cabinet.

Or the perfect green field
and the turquoise sea.

I would like to give
them all to you.
But they
are already yours.





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23 comments:

rosaria said...

Beautiful sentiment! Thank you!
Happy Holidays, Ruth. Thank you again for reminding us that we already possess all that is treasured.

Grandmother said...

In our love we want to give our loved one the world, but, yes, they're already his. Lovely. Hope your hands are feeling better and that you enjoy wonderful holidays with your family.

hedgewitch said...

Yes, this assembly line spirit of buying for, not giving, is one of the worst banes of the hoildays. It's only intensified over the years, to the point where, as someone put it on twitter "Show your love by buying her something that costs more than your yearly income." cars, diamonds--I was particularly repelled by a jewelry commercial, where a young girl looks longingly at bon bons in a candy shop, then is morphed to a grown woman drooling over thousands of dollars worth of gems, as if they equate.
Your poem says all this and many other, subtler shadings of things, with much greater softness and truth. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Dutchbaby said...

What is it about the word "gifting" that makes it so sterile and removed from the act of giving?

Here's to celebrating what we already have!

Brendan said...

The recent compression in so many of your poems may be forced by physical ailments in the hands, but the result is a surprising new register I don't think you could have found in any other way. Reminds me of when the great jazz pianist Keith Jarrett came down with chronic fatigue syndrome in 1996 (he called it "chronic dead syndrome") and couldn't play but a few notes at a time for several years. His 1998 "The Melody at Night' are riffs on compositions with the lightest, faintest of touch, with so much space between the notes -- his road back, but also a surprisingly beautiful album. I think of this poem that way. Sometimes giving can be just the reminder that so much is already there. - Brendan

Friko said...

Thank you for the present you wish to give me, I shall take good care of it.

erin said...

I mourned suddenly
the loss of giving.


there's so much to consider here, i dare not go further. (although if i did go further, how i'd be lost in the vase, in the hands, in the sea.)

i love all aspects of this. i have been thinking about this a great deal this year, talking about it with my children, my family. the best i can receive this year is nothing in the hand. the best i can receive this year, i already have, as well.

and your photo illustration is perfect, ruth.

xo
erin

Louise Gallagher said...

I really like the idea of celebrating what we already have -- you express it so well in this poem. The need to cherish what we have so that we don't spend our days yearning for what we don't have.

Divya said...

Loved the feeling deep inside here . Its so true . At festivals we only buy and their is our loss. Loss of giving :)
Touched me immensely.

The Solitary Walker said...

A great gift in a small package, Ruth. I like Brendan's comment.

Ruth said...

Dear Friends, thank you for your responses to this small package-poem. As a family we do very little now in the way of this gifting idea, the cultural-seasonal-holiday tradition that is thrust upon us. We love the spirit of giving, the root and source of some of the joy of this time. I try to ignore the shimmer and shake of commerce, while at the same time knowing many businesses depend on this time to stay or get in the black. But the differences between the verb gift and give loomed in my heart after seeing that billboard.

I do think there is a density that comes in this and other writes, from out of the limitations of my hands. And this is also why I am only typing one comment response, something that goes against my bloggy grain. I hope you will understand (I think you do), and I thank you for doing so.

My love to you all.

Louise Gallagher said...

Dearest Ruth, Your words always resonate with such grace and purity.

I am saddened to know your hands are not dancing lightly on the keyboard yet even in their pain, your spirit graces each note with such beauty that no response is necessary -- understanding is all there is.

Hugs

Ruth said...

Louise, thank you for such kindness.

I mention my hands, not out of any desire for pity (and that is not what I feel from you, I feel compassion), but by way of explanation for why my blogging forays have diminished. My heart, however, has not lessened, in fact, it increases.

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

Lovely...

And yes, where did "giving" go. When it morphed into "gifting"? -sighhhh-

"Giving" brings to mind, warm happiness. "Gifting" brings to mind, spending too much money on silly things.

"Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire and Christmas treat."

~~Mother Goose

George said...

What is this all about—gifting rather than giving, and why should it be easy? The ad suggests that one should merely present "a gift" and get the whole matter over with as easily and as quickly as possible. Too much is made of gifts, but when we do give, we should do it from the heart, not out of necessity.

No need to respond to this comment, Ruth. Save your fingers and consider me a recipient of the joint "thank you" posted before my comment.

Oliag said...

Thank you for this simple gift:)

Be well!
xoxo

Chris G. said...

Ah yes, the marketing take-over of the holidays...always makes for a somewhat unsettling atmosphere for the time of year. It's gifting. It's hand it over and get out, enjoy the money I spent...less the act of giving, the joy of giving, the happiness of a holiday born of spending time with the people doing the giving, rather than the gifts. It is a wonder...

Arti said...

I've never come across the verb gifting, but nowadays, every word can be turned into a verb, right? Googling it and one will know. ;) You're absolutely right in distinguishing between gift and give, they carry very different sentiments, motives, and consequences, something beyond the material. I'm sure the locale of your home can also affect how you receive and celebrate the spirit of the Season too. A country Christmas on the farm sounds much more romantic and soulful than an urban one.

Margaret said...

Oh Ruth! I love you "windy" or "pithy"! :) First, the photograph I could just dive into and live happily ever after.

We, as parents buy one "big" thing for each child that they desire (not necessarily need) and then we all go on a shopping "hunt" and find the perfect $10 gift for everyone. It shall be interesting what my youngest will consider the perfect gift for each. We go MANY places, used bookstores, antique shops and sometimes it just pops up in the check out line at Target... Jeanette bought her dad a vibrating back massager for $5.00. (she is his official back massager :)

My two off at UNCSA can't wait to come home and spend a day or two (sometimes three) out hunting. Not easy with only $10 to spend, but it is FUN.

Stratoz said...

Happy Holidays. Thanks for this gift. May Peace, Hope, and Joy fill your last days of 2011.

steven said...

there's so much goodness in giving - anything - giving any none thing. steven

Ginnie said...

I hate that your hands are so hard on you these days, Ruthie, but am so glad you are pampering them. Thank you.

It took a year of shrinking everything I owned into 2 large boxes and 2 suitcases to make me understand why I have everything I need and want nothing! It's memories we give ourselves now...and the extra jigsaw puzzle or DVD that will give us hours of pleasure. It really is as simple as that.

Thanks for the reminder!

ds said...

Beyond lovely. Just experienced something that makes me wonder, indeed, what has happened to giving.

Thank you.