Archives for posts with tag: bugs

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THINGS I SAY TO MYSELF WHILE HANGNG LAUNDRY
by Ruth Stone

If an ant, crossing on the clothesline

from apple tree to apple tree,

would think and think,

it probably could not dream up Albert Einstein.

Or even his sloppy moustache;

or the wrinkled skin bags under his eyes

that puffed out years later,

after he dreamed up that maddening relativity.

Even laundry is three-dimensional.

The ants cross its great fibrous forests
from clothespin to clothespin

carrying the very heart of life in their sacs or mandibles,

the very heart of the universe in their formic acid molecules.

And how refreshing the linens are,

lying in the clean sheets at night,

when you seem to be the only one on the mountain,

and your body feels the smooth touch of the bed
like love against your skin;

and the heavy sac of yourself relaxes into its embrace.

When you turn out the light,

you are blind in the dark

as perhaps the ants are blind,

with the same abstract leap out of this limiting dimension.

So that the very curve of light,

as it is pulled in the dimple of space,

is relative to your own blind pathway across the abyss.

And there in the dark is Albert Einstein

with his clever formula that looks like little mandibles

digging tunnels into the earth

and bringing it up, grain by grain,

the crystals of sand exploding
into white-hot radiant turbulence,

smiling at you, his shy bushy smile,

along an imaginary line from here to there.

“Things I Say to Myself While Hanging Laundry” appears in Ruth Stone’s collection Simplicity (Paris Press, 1996), available at Amazon.com.

Photo: ”Our Clothesline Is the Favorite Place for Ants” by  *katherine*photo*, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruth Stone was born on June 8, 1915, in Roanoke, Virginia. Her books of poetry include What Love Comes To: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize; In the Dark (2004); In the Next Galaxy (2002) which received the 2010 National Book Award; Ordinary Words (Paris Press, 1999), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award; Simplicity (1996); Who Is the Widow’s Muse (1991); Second Hand Coat (1987); Cheap (1975); Topography (1971); In an Iridescent Time (1959). Stone was the recipient of the 2002 Wallace Stevens Award and received two Guggenheim Fellowships, The Bess Hokin Award from Poetry magazine, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Vermont Cerf Award for lifetime achievement in the arts. She taught creative writing at several universities, including the State University of New York in Binghamton. A Vermont resident since 1957, she died at her home in Ripton, Vermont, on November 19, 2011. She was 96 years old. (Source: Poets.org)

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ANTS
by Joanie Mackowski

Two wandering across the porcelain
Siberia, one alone on the window sill,

four across the ceiling’s senseless field
of pale yellow, one negotiating folds

in a towel: tiny, bronze-colored, antennae
‘strongly elbowed,’ crawling over Antony

and Cleopatra, face down, unsurprised,
one dead in the mountainous bar of soap.

Sub-family Formicinae (a single
segment behind the thorax), the sickle

moons of their abdomens, one trapped in bubbles
(I soak in the tub); with no clear purpose

they come in by the baseboard, do not bite,
crush bloodless beneath a finger. Peterson’s

calls them ‘social creatures,’ yet what grim
society: identical pilgrims,

seed-like, brittle, pausing on the path
only three seconds to touch another’s

face, some hoisting the papery carcasses
of their dead in their jaws, which open and close

like the clasp of a necklace. ‘Mating occurs
in flight’— what better way? Weightless, reckless

rapture: the winged queen and her mate, quantum
passion spiraling near the kumquat,

and then the queen sheds her wings, plants
the pearl-like larvae in their cribs of sand:

more anvil-headed, creeping attentions
to follow cracks in the tile, the lip of the tub,

and one starting across the mirror now, doubled.

Source: Poetry (April 2000).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanie Mackowski’s collections of poems are The Zoo (2002) and View from a Temporary Window (2010). She received a BA from Wesleyan University, was a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, and received a PhD from the University of Missouri. A professor at Cornell University, she has worked as a French translator, a journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and a juggler. She is the winner of the 2003 Kate Tufts Discovery award, and the 2008 Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson award. She lives in upstate New York.

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THINGS I SAY TO MYSELF WHILE HANGNG LAUNDRY
by Ruth Stone

If an ant, crossing on the clothesline

from apple tree to apple tree,

would think and think,

it probably could not dream up Albert Einstein.

Or even his sloppy moustache;

or the wrinkled skin bags under his eyes

that puffed out years later,

after he dreamed up that maddening relativity.

Even laundry is three-dimensional.

The ants cross its great fibrous forests
from clothespin to clothespin

carrying the very heart of life in their sacs or mandibles,

the very heart of the universe in their formic acid molecules.

And how refreshing the linens are,

lying in the clean sheets at night,

when you seem to be the only one on the mountain,

and your body feels the smooth touch of the bed
like love against your skin;

and the heavy sac of yourself relaxes into its embrace.

When you turn out the light,

you are blind in the dark

as perhaps the ants are blind,

with the same abstract leap out of this limiting dimension.

So that the very curve of light,

as it is pulled in the dimple of space,

is relative to your own blind pathway across the abyss.

And there in the dark is Albert Einstein

with his clever formula that looks like little mandibles

digging tunnels into the earth

and bringing it up, grain by grain,

the crystals of sand exploding
into white-hot radiant turbulence,

smiling at you, his shy bushy smile,

along an imaginary line from here to there.

“Things I Say to Myself While Hanging Laundry” appears in Ruth Stone’s collection Simplicity (Paris Press, 1996), available at Amazon.com.

Photo: “Our Clothesline Is the Favorite Place for Ants” by  *katherine*photo*, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruth Stone was born on June 8, 1915, in Roanoke, Virginia. Her books of poetry include What Love Comes To: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize; In the Dark (2004); In the Next Galaxy (2002) which received the 2010 National Book Award; Ordinary Words (Paris Press, 1999), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award; Simplicity (1996); Who Is the Widow’s Muse (1991); Second Hand Coat (1987); Cheap (1975); Topography (1971); In an Iridescent Time (1959). Stone was the recipient of the 2002 Wallace Stevens Award and received two Guggenheim Fellowships, The Bess Hokin Award from Poetry magazine, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Vermont Cerf Award for lifetime achievement in the arts. She taught creative writing at several universities, including the State University of New York in Binghamton. A Vermont resident since 1957, she died at her home in Ripton, Vermont, on November 19, 2011. She was 96 years old. (Source: Poets.org)