five poems / five days #7

Mary Ruefle


The children in ragged bedclothes
begged for a story
and had the door closed, very softly,
in their faces.
Years later, that was their story.

It was a long story. It took a bottle
of brandy and two nights of rain
to reach the end. Just before the door
closed completely, a bolt of light
fell in the dark across their happy faces.


Another amazing piece from Mary Ruefle – “a bottle / of brandy and two nights of rain”. One of strongest qualities in her poetry is that the reader’s always being unsettled by an image, a voice, a line – and never is certain of what might be waiting at the end of the poem. When I return to Ruefle’s poems, I’m always surprised by what I find. I never seem to exhaust her works. That must surely be at least one mark of greatness.


SarahJane said...

Terrific poem.
"Years later, that was their story." - sounds true to me.
Love the "it took / a bottle of brandy..." line.
thanks. i'd never read that.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

I always enjoy Ruefle's approach to poetry. Thanks for reading, Sarah.

jenni said...

I need to get her book. I really liked this poem and I have not read much of her. Thanks for what you do on this blog!

sam of the ten thousand things said...

I appreciate your comment, Jenni. You will enjoy Ruefle's work.