Friday, March 30, 2012



When I feel most alone, no matter
if life and love remain all around,
when body and mind are too much,
I need to leave the bread at the table,
go out and walk the orchard or the lake,
find the star, the moon, or the last loaf of sun.
Nothing there, nothing
between me and the Scotch pine,
nothing between me and loss,
no bridge across the distance,
only the dissolving heart, alive, the way
the sun sinks slowly, without a body, everywhere,
and try not to be afraid.


The Broad said...

I like the feeling here of being so personal and at the same time so inclusive. You have a way of being able to express both sides of the same coin.

LeenaH said...

Your photo is touching and the poem too - everybody`s feelings now and then.
I thank you for the lovely photos, he is so adorable and strong baby boy.I was looking at his photos from your blog - I did not find -it was such a joy to get them by email, thanks again!
Nice sunny weekend to you Ruth and yours!

erin said...

leave the bread at the table...the last loaf of the sun...only the dissolving heart, alive, the way the sun sinks slowly, without body, everywhere


the trying not to be afraid is our everyday human perspective, the opposite side of the coin of acceptance. yes)))

how is it that the natural world teaches us? well, duh, erin, because it lives without question or even thought, it does the work of living that we have to cut through to.

who might i be, ruth, if i never found you or rilke? i don't know. i don't even really care. i found you:)))


Anonymous said...

The solitude of nothing is a much different animal than the loneliness of absence. Only the part of us that's warped and wrapped by the Other suffers the former; only the part that lets go succors the former. Finely woven poem, Ruth. - Brendan

George said...

How stunningly beautiful, Ruth! This poem resonates deeply with me. Walking deep into nature—where there is both nothing and everything I need—is increasingly the only escape I have from the world's madness. Incidentally, you might find it interesting to read Timothy Egan's piece in yesterday's NYT on "Nature-Deficit Disorder."

hedgewitch said...

There is something about that air that blows across the Scotch pine, across the void from the stars, across our own void, that is indeed comforting, a sort of reset that is impossible to find except in solitude, and which I think some parts of us always crave. I love the last line, where the sun transcends itself, us, and the very idea of being caught in a physical cage. A beautiful, meaning poem, one to read many times.

rosaria williams said...

Elemental, stripped bare! This goes straight to the heart.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, as everyone has said, very beautiful. I really like 'the dissolving heart', and the brave poignancy of the final line. I like this whole poem a lot.

Margaret said...

I think we humans need solitude (which of course isn't the same thing as loneliness) and when we get too busy with life, we get... perhaps lonely for ourself. We must nurture ourselves in order to be beneficial for others. Mothers get drained so easily...

The touch of sunlight on the bench is just perfect for this poem.

Nelson said...

If, as you have related to me, if "our feelings are our friends," how might one befriend "be[ing] afraid" instead of "try[ing] not to be afraid?"

I am struck by the notion that there are times when we find ourselves seeking "the last loaf of sun."

Rubye Jack said...

"and try not to be afraid"
Those words could be my mantra. What I strive for as I age. The idea of being fearless in the face of nothingness. Sometimes I think practicing the idea in my mind will help condition my mind to accept it.

Ruth said...

Thanks to The Broad, I'm glad you feel that. If there's nothing else I've worked on learning these last couple of years, it's seeing wholeness in seemingly opposing forces.

Dear Leena, yes I sent the photos to you special. I was remembering when you sent photos of Mikael and Melli at James's age, and I could not believe how time has flown by. I love the photos you have sent me of them, so big now, playing in the snow.

Thank you, erin. You ask my very question: Who would I be if I had never found erin? As you say, we found one another, and we are different as a result. You've opened me and my world!

Ruth said...

Thanks, Brendan. Suffering and succoring are two of the seemingly opposing forces that make life go 'round. I'm learning not to mind, knowing that the days and hours will bring them both on the heels of the other. Beauty keeps rising from their duet.

George, thanks so much! And a hearty thanks for the article too, which I've now read, thanks to you. It's a great title, coined by Richard Louv, and so indicative of how our society is shifting. It really makes me stop and ponder how many of our ills, both individually and as a society, might improve if more people just got outside to commune with nature, to walk to work, to play, to pay attention to something other than a little glass screen with bright symbols and apps, and photos of the great outdoors!

Thanks, Hedge. There is emptiness that isn't empty, of course, and that is the kind we have to find on a regular basis.

Ruth said...

rosaria, I am quite happy you feel that here!

Robert, thank you, I'm thrilled you like it. I am not surprised you are drawn to the theme.

Margaret, thank you for stating beautifully what is needful for mothers. I love seeing my daughter and son-in-law mindful of this as they raise James.

Nelson, yours is an excellent question that I also thought of. For honesty's sake, though, I had to leave the last line as it is. If we're lucky, with the trying comes being. I do love the thought, that Osho espouses, that if you simply be (befriend) the emotion you resist, much of its power subsides. I've found it true many times.

Rubye, maybe the fear is our basic instinct, to survive. I do think that with practice and mantras we can train our minds away from negative emotions. It has worked for me. But I still fail at it.

Stratoz said...

the last line, it resonates.

Marcie said...

I can - somehow - feel the sense of peace in your poem...your love and appreciation for time alone to reflect and 'be'. Beautiful!

Shari Sunday said...

Such a beautiful photograph. I understand trying not to be afraid, even sometimes when you don't know why you are afraid in the first place.

Kathleen said...

Love this! (Tried to tell you so yesterday but was having Blogger issues.) The walks in nature help me, too.

ds said...

(whispering) yessss....

Anonymous said...

If we can get access to a lake, the sun, the moon and stars. I know we're the fortunate ones in this world. I can't imagine if I'm living in a concrete jungle, windows have bars for security, can hardly see the sun, the moon, let alone stars. You're so right, Nature is powerful in reviving the weary heart. This phrase draws my attention: "I need to leave the bread at the table," Of course, we don't live by bread alone... there are so many more important pursuits.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Stratoz. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one.

Marcie, thank you. From your photos, which are predominantly outdoors, I suspect you find the same for yourself.

Shari, a certain amount of fear is healthy. I think a lot of negative emotions boil down to fear. Thanks.

Ruth said...

Kathleen, I'm sorry to hear about the frustrating Blogger hurdles. Maybe you took a walk to feel better. ;-)

Thanks for that, ds, very much.

Arti, it's no wonder urban dwellers, who can, flock to beaches on weekends. I always love seeing flowers, tomatoes, and trees on city balconies.

Jeanie said...

You touch the soul, Ruth. That is a gift.

Vagabonde said...

I just read the anniversary poem for your parents – very nice. It made me think about my parents’ anniversary. They were married on the 21st of March and my birthday is the 26th of March. When I was a child I would tell people that my parents wanted me so bad that they had me less than a week after their wedding – to which my mother would hurriedly add….that was 4 years later not 5 days later!

Your poem Alone speaks to my soul – your words resonate in me for sure. I love to be alone, actually I am alone much of a day, every day, but not “lonely.” How can one be lonely when in nature, looking at trees, flowers, up to the sky? Or listening to music, looking at beautiful paintings, a lake/river/the sea, reading or just recollecting wonderful things from the past? People who say they are bored always amaze me – how can that be with all the gardens, blossoms and birds out there?

Miss Jane said...

Thank you for sharing this, Ruth. How wise of you to know when you need the solace of nature and how brave of you to make it happen, to step out of unease and care for your soul.
I felt this a few weeks back when overwhelmed by a vague ennui. I thought to myself: What is the kindest thing I can do for myself? A walk in the woods.
It took me awhile to let go, to unwind and unstick my mind and eyes. But this is a good time of year to walk, while the insects and brambles are low. I entered the woods and let the coolness of the dark earth come up and the pale of all the new greenery emerging soothe me. I had been in this woods before, but I took a new path that went up a rise and I kept hearing spring peepers getting nearer the higher I went. I thought it was odd, because the frogs should be in low lying wetlands, not up a hill. When I got to the top of the rise, I saw it dropped to two muddy little ponds. There, in the middle of nowhere, shielded from all the manmade noise were two small water kettles in the hills chorusing spring. I was so glad to find such a treasure and I left refreshed.

GailO said...

I don't think I would be suitable company for others or myself if it weren't for walks alone around "my" pond. Lovely poem Ruth! Now I am off to find that article George mentioned:)

Barb said...

Wonderfully expressed - the line, "only the dissolving heart, alive, the way the sun sinks slowly, without a body, everywhere" resonates with me.

California Girl said...

How lonely & forlorn the speaker. I feel intrusive but want to know more. I hope it's just the poetry not the poetess aching.

Ginnie said...

I immediately started thinking of Astrid and how sometimes she doesn't get enough "me" time. She's almost never anywhere alone. She loves her job and she loves being with me...but there is always that need and longing to be alone. I'm going to tell her about this poem, Sister....

Cait O'Connor said...

when body and mind are too much,
I need to leave the bread at the table,
go out and walk the orchard or the lake,
find the star, the moon, or the last loaf of sun.

This was a touching poem and describes loneliness as opposed to solitude. The picture seems to fit the poem. Both are beautiful, thank you for sharing.

Loring Wirbel said...

Read a lot of solitude and loss poems of late, maybe a cathartic purge before a full-core spring. Happy National Poetry Month!