Perfect Reader

A week ago I made a post on Mary Ruefle – here she is again:

I spend all day in my office, reading a poem by Stevens, pretending I wrote it myself, which is what happens when someone is lonely and decides to go shopping and meets another customer and they buy the same thing.

But I come to my senses,

and decide when Stevens wrote the poem he was thinking
of me, the way all my old lovers think of me
whenever they lift their kids or carry the trash,
and standing outside the store I think of them:
I throw my arms around a tree, I kiss the pink
and peeling bark, its dead skin, and the papery
feel of its fucked-up beauty arouses me, lends my life
a certain gait, like the stout man walking to work
who sees a peony in his neighbor’s yard and thinks ah,
there is a subject of white interpolation,

and then the petals fall apart for a long time, as long as it takes summer to turn to snow,

and I go home at the end and watch the news about the homeless couple who met in the park,
and then the weather, to see how they will feel tomorrow.

I discovered this beautiful poem on Anthony’s great blog Time’s Flow Stemmed
About Ruefle’s poems, the poet Tony Hoagland has said, “Her work combines the spiritual desperation of Dickinson with the rhetorical virtuosity of Wallace Stevens. The result (for those with ears to hear) is a poetry at once ornate and intense; linguistically marvelous, yes, but also as visceral as anything you are likely to encounter.”
More on Mary Ruefle
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6 Comments

    1. I don’t keep up with poetry at all! Actually I have just recently started reading it … as a result of my own writing (which tended to “form itself” like some kind of poetry – ?)
      It has taken me a very-very long time to see that poetry is all about openness, and not about master analysis, as I tended to believe in my study days. I’m such a fool for not having seen this before, but there you go …

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