Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Poem: 29 Ways of the Soul on February 29

29 Ways of the Soul on February 29

The soul is free
of pain, nothing
quick or slow,
hot or cold,
heavy or airborne.

the copper mum almost silent
until the polishing light
of a stormy sky.
This July memory.

Rosemary mid-winter.
Silver threads,
smoke and camphor.

Drops of rain
hanging on
to the tips
of pine needles.
Not the rain,
the needles.

Five shades of green
in one square inch of grass.
One bent yellow blade.

A head inside
a tight hood; sounds muffled:
feet falling; rain falling;
heart falling.

Muddy deer hooves
in the woods fidgeting
while my eyes
seek the bottom
of two-pronged well-tracks
filling with water.

The wind
when it stops.

Patches of snow
on the ground
look like clouds.
This source.

The wet log.
That darkness.
That shine.

The hiding place
inside the log.

The log hibernating
inside the arcing
bare forsythia.

The desire to move.

The longing to be still.

The sky sitting
on the earth
like Buddha.

My arms swinging
when my legs walk.
My heart floating
like my head.
I’m not sure what,
or who, does the carrying.

Glasses pearled
with rain. Seeing anyway
with everything else
a little.

No birds
to be seen. But
they’re here.

The cry of a bird
in the sumac when I walk past.
Intuition. His and mine.

Beneath the rust
of the sumac,
the curve of the blossom.

This white page
before I typed
the words
that were already here.

The countries
on my shoulders
that hurt, where wings
could be.
Flying above
that failing.

The space that desire
plows ahead of itself.

The courage
of one foot. One leaf.
One inch. The courage
not to measure.

Arousal’s eddies
at the edges of the ocean,
which is far from here.
But I feel the pull
in this spray.

Mountains with snow.
Or these no-mountain
fields. I am at the top.
Is there a difference?

The fur around my face,
synthetic, that tells me
there is another
that is animal and alive.
We are real.

The number 29
in February—nowhere—
until it pierces time
out of nonexistence.

Out of emptiness
she comes talking
just like dawn
opening the fog.
But not every day
that I can tell.

February 29, 2012


Kathleen said...

29 stanzas to love.

rosaria said...

What marvelous truths you tell!

Grandmother said...

Oh, the courage to speak your truth! Grazie.

George said...

You have leaped into a single day, leaving only this as your tracks: a blueprint for mindfulness.

Oliag said...

Each stanza is a picture:) I like what George had to say about your mindfulness...Love how you leap into each day.

Elizabeth said...

I echo my fellow bloggers
a delight to the senses and soul.

erin said...

Five shades of green
in one square inch of grass.
One bent yellow blade.

but how can i choose? how can i dare to? you cause my heart to leap and my eyes to rove, wait, no - to be still - no, wait - to see.


"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

-happy sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-

"The most serious charge
which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February."

~Joseph Wood Krutch

Maureen said...

Love this, Ruth, especially stanzas 15 and 29.

Anonymous said...

The courage
of one foot. One leaf.
One inch. The courage
not to measure.

Pity the poor inchworms among us, whose very nature is always to measure, measure...

Mark Kerstetter said...

30. Ruth could go on and on

and we'd love it. Yes it's hard to choose a favorite, but I l love that inch, the courageous one, and also the grassy one. Beautiful.

Ruth said...

Kathleen, 29 thanks! :-)

rosaria, I'm grateful you find them true too!

Mary, grazie mille to you!

Ruth said...

George, thank you. So either I am flying, or the unlikely event that I was among the raptured. :-) Seriously though, I appreciate your comment. I suppose we could write one of these for every day, not a bad exercise, eh?

Oliag, thank you. There is so much lore around Leap Year. I was listening to the radio about how some cultures find it lucky to marry on Feb. 29, and others find it unlucky.

Elizabeth, thanks so much for finding delight in this.

Ruth said...

erin, it is all and everything and nothing we choose, isn't it. Thank you.

Auntie, how sweet your sigh is.

Maureen, thank you for your attention to the 29 stanzas.

Ruth said...

Linda, now I want to listen to Patricia Barber sing it ... thanks.

Mark, thanks for reading these little meditations and liking those you chose. I enjoyed the exercise and am thinking about it as a daily soul practice just for me. Or I could put it on my sidebar, hmmm...

Anonymous said...

A bit of Dickinson -- binding a month's worth of small poems here -- with a bit of Rilke's hushed observations -- somehow Robert Bly -- and of Rumi, the ecstatic -- but all Ruth, poised at the cusp of spring, celebrating what is, what passes, what may be. My faves: 4, 10, the stilling pace of 12-13, the distance insistance of 22 & 25, the resolution of 29. Fine stuff, Ruth -- Brendan

The Broad said...

I love your imagery, your phrasing, the way your words seem to float on the page. Your poetry is very fine, Ruth and I feel so privileged to read it.

Reena Walkling said...

Such beauty ... a delight to read.

Louise Gallagher said...

This is a brilliant soul practice. I am participating in a Soul of the Pilgrim online retreat and everyday I am drawing/painting/creating a mandala based on something I write -- usually a poem.

It is healing and enlivening and exciting and wondrous to explore each day this way.

Love that you wove the move together stitching moments together with words. beautiful.

Ruth said...

Brendan, thanks for looking through all these windows with me, and for your kind comparisons. They were born out of a few pain-free minutes. I was giddy!

The Broad, you are so nice, thank you.

Reena, thank you for reading and your nice comment.

Louise, that is cool! Using different parts of our being to create an expression out of our souls is an adventure: you never know what it will lead to.

Marcie said...

What an inspiring list. 29 beautiful truths!

ds said...

Out of emptiness into fullness she walks, writing her vision, her wings concealed beneath her (synthetic) fur-trimmed jacket.
She has flown...

And we are so very glad she does. Thank you, Ruth.

Ruth said...

Marcie, thanks so much!

ds, how kind you are. Thank you.

Miss Jane said...

A beautiful meditation--and brilliant realization. I really took to 21--the words that were already here. Yes! Yes!

Ginnie said...

I knew this would be a treat, Ruth, the minute I saw "29" and "soul." I was not disappointed.

Stratoz said...

Ruth,I love it and I won't compare my writing to yours ;') or compare one stanza to another; but simply enjoy the whole.

Montag said...

This was posted on the day we returned from Florida. I have been sick every day since, but this cheers me up.

Particularly "the space that desire plows ahead of itself" brings to mind desire as a boat plowing through the waves of whatever one desires at the time, or a sharp iron ploughshare overturning the springtime earth.