Poetry: Ruth Stone

In this New York Times article about the death of poet Ruth Stone, she is quoted as having said that poetry is “emotional opinion” and that, to her, poetry “just talked to me, and I wrote it down. So I can’t even take much credit for it.” Here’s one of Stone’s poems posted on poets.org:


Always on the Train

by Ruth Stone


Writing poems about writing poems

is like rolling bales of hay in Texas.

Nothing but the horizon to stop you.


But consider the railroad’s edge of metal trash;

bird perches, miles of telephone wires.

What is so innocent as grazing cattle?

If you think about it, it turns into words.


Trash is so cheerful; flying up

like grasshoppers in front of the reaper.

The dust devil whirls it aloft; bronze candy wrappers,

squares of clear plastic–windows on a house of air.


Below the weedy edge in last year’s mat,

red and silver beer cans.

In bits blown equally everywhere,

the gaiety of flying paper

and the black high flung patterns of flocking birds.

(The poets.org website includes forums on everything from how to write poetry to the difference between voice and style.)

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