Sunday, March 04, 2012

Poem: The housefly and me


The housefly and me

We bask together in the sun. Against this southeast window
  he is finding spring strength in tireless morning exercise.
    Starting from the lower frame he walks up the pane

a few inches. Reaching an invisible barrier, he flutters
  and slides back down to the casing, and immediately
    starts again, straight up the window escarpment.

His zenith rises higher each trip. It has been some
  five minutes, and he can now get to six inches
    before falling back to the maple ledge. I sit and wait

for water to boil in the kitchen behind me.
  Whisker-legs rappel back down the glass. The glass-top
     burner sputters with moisture on the bottom of the pot.

In the time it takes to whistle, he has reached nine inches.
  The smell of spiced chai steeps in creamy sweetness.
    Sunday morning warms in a March sun.

Alongside a red pen, bright spines of books face me
  with titles of the inner journey—what is real, mystery, being.
    My fly climbs and falls, climbs and falls, climbs and falls,

separated from the sun by glass. When the window opens
  in another month, he’ll fly. I will have studied another few
    chapters, including this one about the author’s trek to a far-off

Indian temple with a Maharajji, the author's sudden tears
  fluttering down his cheeks, and down the cliffs of the mountain
    he'd conquered, when he realizes his home was right here inside all along.

March 2012


Jeanie said...

Oh, Ruth -- your words are magic and give the reader the feeling of being there, beside you, beside the books, watching as our fly-friend climbs and falls.

Miss Jane said...

Lovely. Thank you for this vignette of the little fly and you, each working on your paths. Loved the photo of the bubbly chai in the heather cup next to the exotic locale postcard.

erin said...

such distances traveled, ruth, and what work to arrive where? i was thinking of this just this morning - again. heh. life begets life. we try to learn to try to learn. we love to love. we breathe to breathe. if we are lucky, at times even we fly.


Reena Walkling said...

Wonderful words of both your worlds.

ds said...

Mmmmm chai....Mmmmm sun...
You and your fly on your separate, singular journeys; you, flying, leaving a beautiful image in your wake. Such grace. Thank you.

Barb said...

What motivates the fly, I wonder, with such a need to keep trying? Thinking of its labor, I wonder what I can learn. (Or should I take my lesson from the author of your book?) You always make me think, Ruth.

rosaria said...

When we connect with other beings like this, we gain a new layer of perception, a new set of senses.

Rubye Jack said...

Brings to mind the myth of Sisyphus.

Ginnie said...

I love how the Maharajji comes in at the end to complete this trek, Sister! Perfect.

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

-happy sigh- Many layered and beautiful.

How lovely it must be, to be able to capture so many things, in poetry. I'm glad you can, and that you share it, with us.

"Seeing what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle."
~~George Orwell

hedgewitch said...

I like the informal mood, the sense of peace, and the perspective in this much. This is what Sunday mornings are all about.

Vagabonde said...

You write such beautiful words “The smell of spiced chai steeps in creamy sweetness.
Sunday morning warms in a March sun.” For a beautiful photo we can say that it is “eye-candy” for your beautiful words can I say “hear-candy” ? because it is.

Loring Wirbel said...

Fabulous! The transition to the last three stanzas is particularly effective. Here's a song you might like about flies:

Ruth said...

Jeanie, thanks so much.

Miss Jane, thank you. I received the postcard from Inge who took a trip to Hawaii, where she swam every day for a week and a half. I wondered if I might catch my fly in my chai, doing the backstroke ...

erin, living this moment is the thing, whatever it is.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Reena.

ds, I could have watched the fly for hours. After a while a lady bug joined him.

Barb, yes, what instincts keep him going? And us as well?

Ruth said...

rosaria, yes. Don't you love watching flies rub their legs together?

Rubye Jack, I hadn't thought of that!

Boots, thank you! I was reading the story of Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass.

Ruth said...

Auntie, thank you for reading, again and again.

Hedge, thanks a lot. I hope that you are feeling much better after your accident!

Vagabonde, you are kind, thanks so much.

Loring, thanks! And for sharing the Worthington song out of your vast turntable and personal YouTube selections. I like it!

Marcie said...

Who'd of ever thought you could read so much into the activities or exercises of a simple housefly? Love the metaphors here. As always - so beautifully written!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Marcie, you are very kind.

Anonymous said...

Ruth, I just love how cerebral your poetry is. The imagery is not for imagery's sake, but pointing to an idea, a thought that often surprises as we come to the last stanza, the last line. Thanks again for an interesting poem, 2 unconnected thoughts conjured up as I read: Sisyphus and John Donnes's 'The Flea'. ;)

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

This is such a skillful combination of close, close attention to detail and weaving a life philosophy into the fabric. Is the philosophy lighting and enlightening the images observed and so well rendered here, or, just the opposite, is it the imagery that illuminates the philosophy? Both, probably. I found myself thinking this makes for a wonderful companion piece to Emily Dickinson’s “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died”, and has just the opposite effect, using the fly to make us feel alive.

Ruth said...

Arti, thanks so much. And what a wonder that poem is! I had not read it until now. Three such stanzas, about love, marriage, fear, sin and death, all from a couple of flea bites!

Lorenzo, thank you, and yes both, simultaneously. I suppose one sits down in a frame of mind that is open to 'most anything. And so, comes the fly. Thank you also for the ED poem, which I did not know before. It rings a gentle alarm buzz, until she . . . could not see to see. What a wonderful poem and revelation.

Anonymous said...

This meditation is definitely in Sunday country, less bounded, taking serious matters with the attention of one long into the work, enough so that the repeated journeys of the fly up the window reflects our attempts to gain vantage on a spirit we too often think is on the other side of the pane, when all is right (here). Supple, charming, free. - Brendan

Ruth said...

Brendan, thanks a lot for reading my Sunday meditation and for your kind words. As you well know, much of the work is simply showing up, believing there is always more to be unearthed (or unwatered in your case). Maybe what we do is really a matter of saying the same thing again and again through different arrangements of letters, characters, movements. And so, it is never done.

Sandy said...

Wow, this is a wonderful poem - something all can relate to.