I must retrace my exact steps on the crust,
or I will sink knee-deep in snow.
Kneeling to dip water from the open center of the brook—
between the ridged armies of black trees,
a splinter of light along the line of frost.
Clear as a printed map,
wrinkled skin on a cup of boiled milk—
the mountains of the moon, a full disc edging up.
Dreading all day to come here for this necessary water,
temperature dropping toward zero;
under the ice the water’s muscular flow,
its insane syllables, is like a human voice.
Inside the house, sleep, sleep.
I brace myself to lift the weight on either hand.
Picking up my full kettle and bucket
and fitting my feet inside their frozen tracks,
I return under the risen moon,
following my shadow.
Winner of the Pushcart Prize and The Eric Mathieu King Award from The Academy of American Poets.
6 x 9, 128 pp
"Stone's work is alternately witty, bawdy, touching, and profound. But never pompous. Her honesty and originality give her writing a sense of youth and newness because she looks at the world so clearly, without all the detritus of social convention the rest of us pick up along the way…. Her writing proves her to be simply inspired." — USA Today
"Simplicity, Ruth Stone's tenth book, is deceptive in title and appearance — its cool blue cover — since it is a wild, wide book haunted by what William James calls the 'buzzing, blooming' of life, and all its ghosts; the voice of neighbors and highways, photons, fields of corn (I ear what you say). Sperm and egg converse, as does a dead husband... She has a wicked sense of humor, about poetry: 'A bulletin from the poetry factory says/ we like our images stuck on with mortician's was' and about people, herself included….There is also great beauty in this collection, and a brilliance of imagery that comes from seeing the world freshly and clearly: '…. An empty parking lot/ passive as the hide of a sleeping amoeba,' 'a June flush of leaves and wild mustard.' Above all, Stone's poetry speaks about and on behalf of love, which marries particles, photons, neutrons, the smallest particles alive, moving and connected. 'Love also takes its shape/ from climate,/ the workhorse of the world;/ and yet, so delicate….'" — Liz Rosenberg, The Boston Globe
Audio & Interviews
Author Ruth Stone reads personal selections from Simplicity