Saturday, November 26, 2011

On the death of Ruth Stone

Ruth Stone has died and I didn't know much about her when she was alive. Except that she was very old.

According to the BBC, her best-known work, including The Solution and Simplicity, came after she turned 70. In 2002, she won the National Book Award for Poetry, for In the Next Galaxy. She was 96 when she died.

Stone's second husband, poet Walter Stone, took his own life in 1959 - the year of her debut - leaving her to bring up three daughters.

Eta Carinae

The snow is coming straight down
Like heavy rain,
The crows protesting—
What do they know?
So the weather patterns change.
The crows, blue jays,
The soggy robins, the gold finches—
Dupes of the weather,
All deceived by the light.
The sun, wobbling and coughing
Along the dust belt;
The entire galaxy
Shuddering with Eta Carinae
Swollen to term.
The super-novae, like Christ,
Come to illuminate the ignorant,
Who can only swallow one another.


We pop into life the way
Particles pop in and out
Of the continuum.
We are a seething mass
Of probability.
And probably I love you.
The evil of larva
And the evil of stars
Is a formula for the future.
Some bodies can
Thrust their arms into
a flame and be instantly
cured of this world,
while others sicken.
Why think, little brother
Like the moon, spit out like
A broken tooth.
"Oh," groans the world.
The outer planets,
The fizzing sun, here we come
With our luggage.
Look at the clever things
We have made out of
A few building blocks—
O, fabulous continuum.


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