MARY RUEFLE


 
 
CALM, HOW DAREST THOU WAIT

Those flowers look so happy together
The tragic in his pink coat
brushing through the gossamer
tries with all his skill
to get his clothes dirty
but really those flowers
look so happy together
They are not questions left howling
because their owner has died
They do not engage a private tutor
who teaches them how to live for a thousand years
then die in their sleep
They are not innumerable birds
lost in the soft dark late September air
They do not distinguish between
the general wreckage and the singular wreckage
They are not faithful scholars of zero
seated in a circle
They are not instructions for the little thread
should the needle appear again
They are not even entwined
They just stand next to each other
in the churchyard silence
and from time to time
help the rain
by listening to it
 
 
 
 
BARDOLOGY

Empty stones, wounded
in the head, become
bards, making their way
along the ground and out
onto the thunderstruck ridge
where they begin to sing
with the heart of an unbaptized child
oh give me your black millet
that the small rain down can rain
and I in the ground again!

And the earth hears them,
but sends them beautiful weather instead
and presently in such weather
the stones grow very high
until they resemble eggs,
pleasantly round ones,
as in pleasant, a word of
great force and expression
for which we are no doubt
indebted to England,
which does not possess such fine weather
and so becomes a destination of choice
now that the bardstones are strong,
strong enough to bob in rough waters
and sing while they make the crossing.
 
 
 
 
 



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