alskuefhaih
asoiefh

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Poem: Bamboo in Winter

-
-

Bamboo in Winter

Wind blurs the bamboo branches into 
     spinning ribbons of two-toned sage.
It is a singular being with root-stalks rattling
     out of the snowed and heavy ground.
Or is it the other bamboo sticks' chiming I hear?
     The ones the children tied with shells and twine
when Summer jumped the wind with lissome limbs?

Winter bones now rattle the wind, unfastened
     in tatters. Skeletal bells from porch hooks
keep flapping. What did we carry from Summer,
     in the hands of the children?
Keep on, keep on, call the bamboo chimes
     to their living kin across Winter’s yard.
Bend quietly, dear sons and daughters.
     Bend lithely, while you can. And the shells clap
their hands like cymbals, hearing
     Summer's tide in the sound of the wind.


February 2012


-
-

21 comments:

George said...

A beautiful poem, Ruth, as we lean from winter into spring and summer. Keep on, keep on—while you can, while you can.

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

Beautiful...

Lovely message...

Keep on Children... Bend while you can... Summer comes...

hedgewitch said...

This is as lithe and green as the bamboo it depicts, alive and moving even after being severed from its roots, giving meaning and depth to our experience. (We had a huge stand of it at our old place--really regret not bringing a clump along, but it is not the kind of plant that is a respecter of boundaries.) Lovely poem for a late winter morning, Ruth.

ds said...

A bit of peace before work. Do not give up on Summer, Ruth, it is still very much a part of you...love bamboo--lissome, ahhh....
Not a very coherent response. Your bamboo sings to a place beyond words. Thank you.

Maureen said...

Wonderful imagery, Ruth, and deeply lyrical. I especially like "root-stalks rattling" and "Summer jumped the wind with lissome limbs". So lovely!

Kathleen said...

Lovely!

rippleeffects said...

How meaningful you use the bamboo in winter as subject. I've never thought of the music they can made, chimes in the wind. Thanks for this image. I'm only used to the metaphor rooted deep in Chinese culture, that bamboos are both flexible and strong. They can bend, but cannot break.

The Broad said...

No doubt about it -- you are good, really good!

Reena Walkling said...

Beautiful .... and the shells clapped their hands like symbols ... just all of it so lovely!

Ruth said...

Thanks, George, and thank you for joining in the poetry of movement (and the movement of poetry). We need to keep moving.

Auntie, thanks a lot. I am astonished at the flexibility of trees.

Thank you, Hedge. Yes, it's movement, which was dramatic yesterday for a winter day that had been quite still and was suddenly windy. I love to think of movement even after being cut off, so thanks for seeing it. Interesting how sound is also movement isn't it.

Ruth said...

ds, there is no incoherence in your response. I understand you perfectly, my friend. Thank you so much for what is beyond words.

Maureen, thanks so much, and for feeling the youth in that line with me!

Thanks, Kathleen!

Ruth said...

Arti, I think also of a bamboo flute, and that beautiful sound.

The Broad, well thank you for that!

Reena, ah, thanks!

Jeanie said...

I love bamboo -- so resilient, yet so graceful. You capture it with such elegance!

Ruth said...

Thanks so much, Jeanie!

James Owens said...

such a richness of sound here, ruth, and lines that sway lithely ... the sense of time deepens, until summer is real in winter and winter real in summer, not only in memory ...

Grandmother said...

I've just come from Trinidad's rain forest filled with bamboo. Huge clumps of bamboo clunk their stalks together in the wind with that unique, deep, resonant sound. When there's a landslide from too much rain, the men take tall sticks of cut bamboo and push them into the soil where they promptly grow roots to secure the soil. Essential in the days before road engineers.

Ruth said...

James, thanks so much. We do carry these things, and each other, don't we?

Mary, welcome back! How exotic it sounds in Trinidad. I do love how bamboo is so practical. I remember seeing the incredible scaffolding in photos in Asia.

Matt D said...

I love bamboo, and I love the images you've captured here, the sounds, the touch of cold given with a promise of summer's return ... rhythms and age.

I want to be younger.

Ruth said...

Matt, thanks a lot. I never minded aging, and was even pretty glad for it, until recently when physical issues began rattling my bones. Even so, I'm glad for the bits of understanding that come over time, even if they are bits that show me how little I understand.

Louise Gallagher said...

Sigh...

I am drifting on the breeze of summer's memory
calling me home to your words

This phrasing...

And the shells clap
their hands like cymbals, hearing
Summer's tide in the sound of the wind.

Lovely.

Ginnie said...

"...their living kin across Winter's yeard." I bet they whisper to each other when no one is listening!