Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is it procrastination to try to write a poem rather than writing more scenes for my novel? I wrote this after reading an article by Tony Judt on Mike's recommendation. Not sure it makes any sense. Must poetry make sense? M-L

A CONVERSATION WITH TONY JUDT

For Mike

My sun-faded, slightly raveled swing
Beckoned
As I stirred my probiotic
Witch’s brew.
So I gathered up
Food for my gut
And mind,
Folding the NYR of Books
Next to my bowl and steaming cup of tea
And carried my tray
To settle down in the vague mid-morning warmth and clouded light
To chew on words, thoughts, and a stew of herbs.

Leafing through the well-thumbed newsprint pages
I quickly glanced over reviews
And settled on this eulogy,
Of sorts,
For Tony Judt.

Unwittingly I rocked
back and forth,
In my well-worn backyard swing.
In my overgrown old, old tangled garden
Left behind by former tenants,
And gobbled up the well tended words
Of Tony Judt
Left behind for greedy readers like me,
Unable to tend our own gardens,
Left behind like a scraggly regret
That still revives each spring.
Persistent life that nature provokes on all of us.

I rocked and read.
My mind kindled by his critiques
Of old, old contradictions
Capturing thoughtless minds
“Writing for the desk drawer…”
Wrote Judt,
For me to read,
Not locking up his thoughts.
Instead,
Protesting “the captive mind.”
But,
How do lulled minds, untrained to reconcile
Conflicted ideas,
Reside amidst the conflict
Unaware of our divided selves?

I rocked amidst my untended garden
Whilst nature randomly reclaimed it.
Hearing the chattering,
Sometimes raucous caws
Of birds small and large,
Feeling the sun’s warmth
Fingering my neck
As clouds scuttered away,
And kept on reading
Trying to digest
Judt’s sharp-edged words and thoughts
About our contradiction
That freedom lives
In a free marketplace.

How do we reconcile
The random life of Nature
With a carefully structured free market?
A crafted illusion
Of randomness
Leading to the common good?
But thinking, questioning minds
Can tease out tangled threads
Reweaving pleasing patterns.
Yet, tapestries take time.
Instant gratifiers have no time for delays.

Sated by Judt’s words
My eyes blurred over his printed page,
Gazed aimlessly from
The unruly maple shading me
Sprung from seeds
Strewn long ago by
The cut down broad trunked tree
Whose stump
Tables our rusted barbeque and tongs,
To gaze along our patio’s cracked cement
Envisioning a cedar deck.


Peripherally a troubling motion
Captures my wandering eyes.
A hopping tiny insect,
Squat armored body
Jump, jumping across the cracked cement,
Moving towards me.

A termite?

Without a thought
I spring to answer my question.
One carefully aimed Dansko clog
Stomps out the life of it.
Dead.
An oily splotch among the pebbled cement.
From how far away
Had it hopped?
It’s effort wasted.
By what?
My fleeting idea
Of my unconstructed deck?
The idea of it?

The heel of my clog
Like the heavy booted ancien regimes
Crushed it
In its possible path
To the slumbering peony beds
Where its strong legs
Might have stirred the earth,
Might have, in his random route, tended the soil
Packed dry and tight around a fallow peony bulb
And loosened it to bloom next spring.

By Mary-Louise Ruth
10.15.10

Thursday, October 7, 2010

For Harold Thud

Here's another 1,000 words for Harold Thud, bringing a little color to a fellow who spends most mornings in a fog - not necessarily referring to his state of mind - and misses our season of upstaging New England's fall colors. Every few days I photograph a few leaves of this beautiful oak in front of Papa's Donuts. I figure that my close association with this magnificent tree might have health benefits similar to anti-oxidants. Harold, what if I send you a few acorns from this tree, and you could plant them in front of your favorite pub.