Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Poem: The Soul in November


The Soul in November

How she looks I cannot say,
although the petal-less heads
of goldenrod, not flaming

yellow any longer,
are something like her

and so they must be the reason
I go out, after reading
the morning’s poems

written by others
at their desks, on typewriters,
or by hand in fine black ink,

and be with the blank
desaturated truth of them
standing alone

without any topaz,
though their sun-flares
are a visible memory.

Birds circle us
from tree to tree
in their orbit of the dun meadow.

Then I walk back to the house,
to my red chair,
the laptop, the empty

white sky of the page
and remember from scratch
my own small explosion.

Poetry should be heard.



hedgewitch said...

Lovely comparison with the goldenrod, the closed blooms as secret as our inner hearts. There is always a sense of questioning in your peace talks with nature, Ruth. And an illuminating 'explosion' of light and insight. Thank you for starting my day with this little dollop of beauty on its head.

Heather said...

Ruth, goldenrod is one of my favorite images of fall, although I must say that I've never examined them after they have bloomed. Now, I want to go right out and march through the fields and roadways to examine them. Thanks!

The Solitary Walker said...

Oh, I do like this. I like that 'blank / desaturated truth...' I like the idea of a 'visible memory'. And I really like the 'red' on your chair, a lovely touch, after the relative colourlessness and the lack of 'flaming yellow' and 'topaz'. But, even in those negatives, you of course bring forth the former and inherent blaze of colour... Tremendously well written, Ruth.

erin said...

how we require the paring down in order to rebuild even our own small visions, (or small explosion!) deconstruction to enable construction. the last stanza, of course, is my favorite.


Reena said...

Lovely words and images, Ruth.

Ginnie said...

The last TWO stanzas are my favorites...because I can picture you and it!

Maureen said...

Beautifully written "small explosion", Ruth. I envision that "white sky of the page" filling up, each "scratch" documenting a memory you bring back from your walk.

Grandmother Mary said...

I am struck by your soul's journey: listening to other's poems, going out in nature and finding the inspiration for your own small explosion. Such a perfect description of the artist's process. My favorite words? "dun meadow"- the feel of it in my mouth as I say it and the image that jumps to mind and connects me to your world. Grazie.

Barb said...

Gosh, Ruth, that last photo literally made me gasp - your "own small explosion" indeed!

Kanelstrand said...

November does that to us. It is such a weird and inspiring month. Beautiful poem. I take it as a birthday present to me :)

Anonymous said...

To capture an explosion is to feel such fulfillment. I hope you had a little wallow, at least! :D

Chris G. said...

And in that explosion is everything, for writer and poet both. November is such a curious, inspiring time isn't it? Caught between those fall colors and the chilling breaths of winter - it invigorates the soul to take it all in.

A saturated burst of loveliness - your words make nature sing, and I must confess, add to some longing I've been feeling for old Michigan and its autumn days.

Ruth said...

Hedge, thank you for reading and responding so kindly.

Ruth said...

Heather, they're soft and beautiful. Enjoy!

Ruth said...

Robert, thank you for very kind and generous response to the poem!

Ruth said...

erin, yes, I always think of you in any white space.

Your body today is a phenomenal piece, so representative of you.

Ruth said...

Reena, thank you, and good to see you!

Ruth said...

Boots, oh thank you. I hope you will spend some time with us in this scene in May!

Ruth said...

Maureen, thank you for your kind response to my poem!

Ruth said...

Mary, thank you for reading and for your gratitude. I do love my dun meadow and am happy to share its joys with you.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Barb! The summer I took that photo (2008, I think) the goldenrod was the best I've seen.

Ruth said...

Sonya, Happy Birthday! :-)

Ruth said...

Amy, getting to know this soul is difficult to describe! But I do wallow, and often. :-)

Ruth said...

Hi, Chris! I don't know where you're living now, but perhaps Michigan misses you too! When we lived in L.A. five years, I really missed the four seasons as only Michigan produces them. Thank you for your kind words about this poem very much.

Brendan said...

I've heard it said that winter is the season of transformation, when all the outer energies pull way in to the earth to begin the next year's gestation. Bare goldenrod are witness to the great inner work going on, and your poem reassures us that, despite the gloomy evidences, all is well. Fine job. - Brendan

Arti said...

"... goldenrod, not flaming yellow any longer..." and yet that doesn't block your creativity. I admire how you can make poetry in any circumstance, Ruth. You'll soon splash colors onto the bare, blank pages, with explosive imagery. That's how I see you do it, painting with words.

GailO said...

I love this small explosion...I love your November soul:) And I have to say I love the photos that you selected to go with your poem...that small explosion of red in the second photo brought me right back to your red chair....

Miss Jane said...

I love this, Ruth.
I don't know if you have a podcast of this, but I would so like to hear you read it in your measured tone.
The words here strike in still brilliance: black ink, blank--topaz, sun, dun--
all flaring from a scratch.
Loved the line and stanza break between flaming and yellow. It made me stop and catch my breath and pay attention, a little stutter of a door latch, perhaps. Thank you.

LeenaH said...

I admire along with all other things
your ability to create the beautiful
entirety in your post as today - just essential elements.

Happy weekend to you and yours, Ruth!

Jeanie said...

Without any topaz. Wow.

Cait O'Connor said...

'the petal-less heads
of goldenrod, not flaming

yellow any longer,
are something like her

Love this, especially as goldrenrod is a favourite here.

ds said...

Clapclapclapclapclap! Standing in the "desaturated truth" of those other poems, absorbing your own in the field--and then to return to the "white sky/ of the page" with your own small explosion. Which is not small at all, a starburst, a sunrise, your work.
Love this all, but especially the first and last.
Thank you.

Stratoz said...

November is a time for all our souls to face the changes nature throws at us. wonderful thoughts my friend. It is great you were provided wisdom from a plant visited by chance(?)