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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Poem: Hitting the Mark

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Hitting the Mark

"My barn having
burned to the ground, I can see the moon."
      ~ old Chinese proverb


In the whole big
field of blue
the sun hits
the bull’s-eye moon.

Down here
my face’s albedo
mimics something
like it in return.

Night by night
turn after turn
the arrow light
finds its mark

and like a climbing,
stumbling goat
I aim my horn
this way and that

to snag that light
in flight. Maybe
one long and
maundering day

from here, when
they open the gate
for home, the sun
will put up his

arrows, the moon
her shield, I my bow-
shaped horn, and we'll
dissolve in sleep.

Until then I'll jump
the fence and like that old
cow make a scene
over the moon.


March 2012


Painting: "Not far from the sun, moon and the stars" by Jean Arp
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13 comments:

The Solitary Walker said...

Oh, I like this. It really does hit the mark. Good the weaving of all the elements near the end, and the surprising last verse.

The Broad said...

Lovely to find this so early in the morning when the moon has just set and the sun's about to rise.

hedgewitch said...

One of my favorite quotes to lead in to a subtle and mysterious poem, as mysterious as the heavenly bodies in their courses so busy and oblivious and spendthrift with their beauty. The human perspective on the celestial theatrics is what makes this tick like a well tuned engine.

blueoran said...

The "art and design" tag is indicative, because this is a different foray for you, proceeding with abstraction and arrangement of a scene rather than a need to be intimate and plush with it. One finds a middle altitude reading this, a territory of observation, a key in the poetic round of fifths that is keenly surficial and meaningful to the eye: one doesn't get as emotionally involved as aethetically, savoring this certain way into the blue fields of moonlight, what lights we see by and how we try to make it our own. I think. Some interesting stretches for you in this and the last poem. Hope Spring is lavishing these fresh energies on you ... Brendan

Ruth said...

Thanks, Robert. Poems can be flighty, and one can never be quite sure what works for a reader.

The Broad, it took me a moment or two to remember that you are in UK. :-) Thank you.

Ruth said...

Hedge, the old proverb is such an opening, isn't it? Thank you for your attentiveness to the little cosmos of my poem, and for your kind reflections.

Brendan, thanks for your thoughtful observations of this piece. Truth be told, it's been harder to dive into the soul territory lately, and so maybe that's what's behind the difference you sense in these last couple of poems. The rare glimpses are deep and dense, but nudging them out into words is far more work, which can sometimes feel less mysterious and miraculous. But whether water is made into wine in a minute, or over months, it's still a miracle of expression (as CS Lewis observed). (I'm not saying this poem is a miracle, I think you know.)

George said...

You have indeed made a scene over the moon, and a beautiful one at that. Wonderfully written, Ruth, with great imagery. (Just returned from L.A., where the new granddaughter, Farrah Jane, was born a couple of days ago. All is well with everyone.)

Ruth said...

Welcome back, George! I missed you and contemplated your newest family member often, wondering how everyone fared. I am happy to welcome baby Farrah Jane and to know that all is well! Thank you for your kind comment, my friend.

Pauline said...

This is beautiful and speaks to my sleeplessness. I am becoming well acquainted with the moon...

Ruth said...

Thanks, Pauline, though I'm sorry to hear about your sleeplessness. Even one as beautiful as the moon has been this week can get tiresome on such nights.

Barb said...

The proverb and your poem both turn a positive "light'" on the moon. There will be plenty of time for sleep.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Barb. Sounds like you might not be sleeping well. :( I hope that improves.

Ginnie said...

Oh-Oh-Oh, Ruth. This is delightful!