To be, so unlike another

Discomfited in a room where I

have never been nor will ever be.

No lace. No flowers. Unrecognizable

to myself. Yet bending

to sit in your imagined chair

by your particular window.

Mountain witness, sea air.

A series of paintings in red and blue by Hokusai.

How much useless effort I have spent

climbing into that chair.

Or marching against the wind

of your breath, not floating in it.

I accept at last my discomfiture

with myself, with you; never mind,

and run alone through slats of sun

with cavorting birds who are anything

but silent. Free to say that I want to love

myself the way I want you to love me:

Under song. In and out of tree-stripe

shadows, one limb after another.

As far as the sun’s eye sees along

a flat land where orange hawkweeds

swell in the random mist of spider laces.

In the morning. In the morning.


Woman and Cloud

From her propped hospital bed

the old woman who nearly died

a few days ago now talks and

talks, while a continental drift of cloud

passes over the hospital and suburbs.

They are each unaware of the other,

the sheeted woman and the gray cloud;

both snowcapped, and round at the edges;

both moving in the minimal float

that seems a physical impossibility

when gravid with so much fluid;

there is much winter to come, and harshly;

they hold it up like a woman’s flounces.

A stone rests

A stone rests.

Water rushes over it like spirit.

Laughter and tears.

Look at it again now and see

what this movement

means to the stone.

If you can’t see it

then listen;

If you can’t hear it

then smell;

If you can’t smell it

then taste;

If you still don’t know

what the movement means

to the stone

then ask the water to rush

over you

until you are moving

at the same speed

as the stone.

Ruth Mowry grew up in a Baptist preacher’s home and always wondered if there might not be a deeper spiritual calling than the religious teachings surrounding her. In the middle of her own family life with her husband and two children she returned to university to complete her undergraduate degree in English, and discovered poetry writing. This exploration coincided with departure from church, and it was through that separation and writing that the spiritual work began afresh, so maybe it is not surprising that writing has become her spiritual practice. 

Today much of her writing launches from the rural Michigan setting where she lives with her husband, finding in nature a replenishing life source for the spiritual journey. Ruth’s poems have been published in a few print and online journals. She blogs at washed stones

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