Thursday, January 12, 2012

Poem: Free



In the mist
around the rising sun
a bird

also rises. The wood fire
clicks in the iron box.

Are the bird,
the sun,
and the fire
confined at all?

Or do they simply
move their breath
for interpretation
within the medium
of each other’s worlds?

January 2012

Painting "Mist" by Nicholas Roerich


erin said...

i think the same could be asked of their freedom,

but by god, these considerations are exciting!

what then, are our freedoms and limitations in body and spirit?!!


Kathleen said...

Oh, lovely!

Herringbone said...

It seems like an ecosystem. Beauty and energy. Interrelationships.

missing moments said...


George said...

I really love this new poem, Ruth. It's spare and sharp in word content, but very rich in meaning. I think the answer to these two questions, which apply to we human mortals no less than the bird, the sun, and the fire, is "yes." It seems to me that everything is confined to some extent by its created nature, and perhaps by the infinite mystery that surrounds everything. At the same time, however, we enjoy the grace of being able to move our breaths "freely for interpretation within the medium of each other's worlds." Very, very fine, Ruth!

rosaria said...

"...within the medium of each other's worlds?"

Speech seems to give us freedom, and you translate that to breath in birds. Such an interesting question to pose, Ruth.

hedgewitch said...

I don't think anything at all is really free, except what exists (or doesn't?) beyond the physical--mind, thought, spirit, and even there, there are constraints and bonds beneath the wheels within wheels, etc. But I think it's important to ask the question, and look for the answer, somehow.We're always seeking it, we need to be able to recognize it should we ever find it.

Maureen said...

Wonderful, Ruth. It's a question without answer, and yet so thoughtfully provoking.

Brendan said...

Something about Rilke's line about relationship that love is best express when two beings (and I don't think he was limited to the human here) "protect and border and greet each other." That sort of tolerance and confluence and semi-aquatic co-existence of the elements allows for the freedom of this poem. Great to see you weaving at the word-loom again, Ruth - Brendan

Ruth said...

erin, I think all the answers lie within our own perceptions. xo

Kathleen, bless you.

Herringbone, I love that! An ecosystem of relationships. Thank you.

Reena, thank you!

George, abundant thanks for your enthusiasm for my poem. I like your yes, yes answers, which get at the mystery. I believe we could live in a prison cell and feel free. It is so much about how we are in our minds, isn't it?

Ruth said...

rosaria, when that hit me, I felt as you did! We perceive ourselves through one another.

hedge, maybe nothing is really free, but I think we choose (or not) freedom, for ourselves, and for those we love. Feeling free is all, to me.

Thanks, Maureen, it is fun to let these questions fly.

Brendan, Rilke's words are light and airy wings here. They protect, and they bring in the air (to name just one element) over there, making us travel toward one another, in one another. For me, it's about intention . . . intending freedom. Thanks for your encouragement, so much.

Peter said...

Isn't everything in this world interdependent, somehow? The flutter of a butterfly's wing in China... ?

Pauline said...

It's the phrasing of, as much as the questions themselves, that makes this poem work. The last stanza is beautifully put.

Ruth said...

Peter , yes. A friend shows wonders in Paris, and I am sitting in a café in Michigan.

Pauline , thank you, I'm glad you feel it works.

Jeanie said...

Beautiful, Ruth. Simple. Elegant. Spot on.

Dutchbaby said...

I will take the Einsteinian approach and say it's all relative.

This poem reminds me of the memoir written by Koningin Wilhelmina: "Eenzaam maar niet alleen", "Lonely but not Alone", where she describes her sheltered life as Queen of The Netherlands.

I love the sparseness of this poem and how you paired it so beautifully with the image.

ds said...

Oh, Ruth, how do I say how much I love this poem without denigrating all that has come before (and yet, what came before was necessary for this one)? Your last was perfect in its symmetry, beautiful as always in its language and feeling. But this? This is free. You have set it so, in the rising mist, in the birds' breath, even in the cracking fire. "Within the medium of each other's worlds," yes, but you once again have gone Beyond. Poet-philosopher friend, where will you take us next?
Thank you.

Ginnie said...

At the end I started LOLing, Ruth, thinking about how contagious everything is if in each other's worlds...even our colds. Maybe that's the least of our worries! :)

Cait O'Connor said...


Amanda said...

this makes me think about the quantum level where delineations disappear and the elements merge. i like the image of the elements in your piece speaking through their breath.

yes, don't we all truly move in and out of the medium of each other's worlds?