Friday, December 2, 2011

Poetry Friday: Ruth Stone

Ruth Stone, who won the National Book Award for Poetry at the age of 87, died on November 19th at the age of 96. She was a proof positive that creativity knows no age limits. Here's a poem of hers I like - hope you do, too.

"POEMS" by Ruth Stone

When you come back to me
it will be crow time
and flycatcher time,
with rising spirals of gnats
between the apple trees.
Every weed will be quadrupled,
coarse, welcoming
and spine-tipped.
The crows, their black flapping
bodies, their long calling
toward the mountain;
relatives, like mine,
ambivalent, eye-hooded;
hooting and tearing.
And you will take me in
to your fractal meaningless
babble; the quick of my mouth,
the madness of my tongue.

I hope you will also look at the post just below this, dated November 25, announcing the release of Sylvia Vardell's and Janet Wong's new eBook Gift Tag, which I'm proud to have a poem in.

I join an impressive list of poets: Jeannine Atkins, Jen Bryant, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Margarita Engle, Douglas Florian, Helen Frost, Joan Bransfield Graham, Lorie Ann Grover, Avis Harley, David L. Harrison, Sara Holbrook, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Bobbi Katz, J. Patrick Lewis, Pat Mora, Ann Whitford Paul, Laura Purdie Salas, Michael Salinger, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Charles Waters, April Halprin Wayland, Carole Boston Weatherford, Robert Weinstock, Steven Withrow, Allan Wolf, Janet Wong and Jane Yolen.

You can download the book straight to your computer, even if you don't have a Kindle or other electronic reader.
You'll find the Poetry Friday round-up this week over at Carol's Corner.  Head over there to see what other people have posted.


  1. Fantastic, Julie. What a physical poem--I especially love the eye-hooded relatives, like mine.

  2. awesome poem. and not just because it has crows in it (some day i'll explore this thing with me and crows). those rising spirals of gnats... to what occasion?


  3. Thank you, Julie, for this introduction. Ruth Stone reminds me of another late bloomer, Anne Porter, who was 84 when she published her first collection of verse.

  4. Oh, I like this poem too.

    Btw, I like your Forster quote, too, and will take it with me into December.

  5. Oh, that's right, it's December! I need a new quotation.

    Does anyone else feel as I do that December is the one month that takes you by surprise??? As in, "Oh, my gosh, how can it be December already?"

    Happy Holidays to everyone right now, in case I don't come up for air until January.


  6. RE: Late bloomers - My all-time favorite poet publishing late in life is Marie Ponsot, who published early & won awards, then stopped for decades to raise a family, and came back to poetry quite late. WONDERFUL poet, and such a nice person. Getting to introduce her at a reading was one of the highlights of my poetry life. If you don't know her work, definitely go out and fine it!!

  7. I'm glad to know that 'gift-tag' can be downloaded at all computers, it would make lovely gifts for colleagues. And, the intro to the poem, "When you come back to me/it will be crow time and flycatcher time" promises much waiting, but I'm not sure if it's all good. Great to think about!

  8. Huzzah for late bloomers! Just another reminder to make EVERY day count!!

    And yes, Julie, December DOES sneak up behind me every year and go, "BOO!" nearly startling me out of my socks!