Sunday, November 27, 2011

All The Ruby Words

All the Ruby Words

By now the words have surely all been said,
composed with a thousand pens from a thousand heads
and yet I wring out more each midnight, sweet
as lemon curded tarts, or bitter as dread.

Our palindromic thoughts tend to repeat
like nightmares of the same reversing street.       
The dead all come to cut the living wrist
and fill the graveyards with their long retreat;

but kisses, no they haven’t all been kissed
nor whispers of ruby words lost in synthesis.
And so my love, I hope you'll overlook    
redundancy and settle for the gist.

There's no beginning nor an end to what we wrote--
it sparkles still, this ruby at your throat.

November 2011

A rubaiyat plus two for the   Sunday Mini-Challenge  at  Real Toads 
(with apologies to Omar Khayyam for the irresistible pun)

  As usual, in my lazy way on Sundays, I've taken a longer free verse piece which I felt was not quite ready for prime time, and honed it with Kerry's form suggestion. I include it for reference, and just for fun:

All the Words

All the words surely have been
said by now
from a thousand pens,
from a million tongues,
and yet I wring out more and more
here in the long midnight, sweet
as lavender and water or
bitter as salted vinegar
from the same worn rag.

And all the thoughts
surely men, surely women
have thought them all before,
and more than I can
ever think, filling the wide world
with the long knit of the mind
and yet I unravel and tangle them
over and over, these same tired threads.

But the kisses, no,
they haven’t all been kissed,
and the soft birdcalls of lovewords
in the dark, have no ending
as they had no beginning
and so I’ll stick to those, my love
and you won’t mind if
I repeat myself.

October 2011
Image: Ruby by ~NaeturVindur on deviantArt 


  1. nice...i like the remix...the dead come to slit the living wrist...nice...and interesting then the ruby on the throat, perhaps the knife went a little high? smiles...nah a nice gesture of love i am sure...keep wringing them out and i will keep reading them...there are lines yet to be penned, kisses yet to kiss, and thankfully thoughts still to be thought, otherwise we might get newt gin-grinch as our next president...sorry it was all the slitting wrist that sent me to politics..."make the children work at their school to keep it running, we dont need paid staff or janitors"...good luck with that...ok so i went a little a great award today from shay that has made me is the 'i hope you step in a bear trap and have to chew your own leg off' award...anyway...back to your lazy sunday...nice verse...smiles.

  2. I love the subject you chose for this poem. I have often wondered at my hubris of even picking up a pen to write when it's all been said, and better, long before I was born. All we latter day poets can offer is our unique viewpoint, our voice of the post post-modern era.. and hope for the best.

    I love your rubaiyat, particularly for its undeniable modern voice and the fact that form never outweighs the poetry itself. My fave quatrain was the third. I think it grew effortlessly from the second and I love the 'whisper of ruby words'.

    Thanks for playing :)

  3. I often think these same thoughts. I decided to settle for the gist as well (smiles) I have a purposeful forgetter and it's good for me to read the same message repeatedly. enjoyed this a lot, hedge.

  4. loved the rubaiyat.esp the second stanza.beautiful.

  5. Ah- well I agree all has been said one way or another to such an extent I doubt we can create anything that is original.

    But then, it'd be as saying we humans are all the same and have lived and suffered and enjoyed the same and the same way. Nonsense!- we are all drops of water, yet so different from one another.
    Thus, what we create is unique, no matter what!

    Great write, HW.

  6. Gosh, I like both versions, though the second is more polished. I'm torn! I liked the rag, but also like the tarts and dread. I liked the ending of the first piece very much, despite or because of its ordinary wording; but I also like the ruby at the throat, which after all, is where all spoken words originate. In all, I really enjoyed seeing both pieces and getting to have a look at how you made the first one into the second.

  7. I love this, Joy. I don't think we could ever run out of words to be shared... at least not poets.

  8. Thanks so much forshowing us the before and after for this transformation. Gives an insight into your editing approach, also. Love both version of the poem -- though they are quite different. The sinister undertones of the first provide a very distinctive undercurrent. The second version is more direct and to the point. Thanks!

  9. It really is kind of cheating to post them both--but it's a difficult choice to just throw the original away. It always surprises me how poems change when you put them in a form press-- a process where things sometimes are more, sometimes less, but always different. Putting them both up means having it all--since we can't very often in life, why not?

    Thanks all for your thoughtful comments. They're much appreciated.

  10. It is good that both are there. We get a better perspective. The rubaiyat, an interesting form. Once a while a seasoned poet comes by and make the reading all the richer.I like the second as I could follow it better. Thanks for sharing,Joy!


  11. Thanks for coming by and reading, Hank. Much appreciated.

  12. I have a tendency to go for something more accessible so I preferred the earlier version for that -- there's a kind of lightness to it. The form remix is certainly more elegant, not as wasteful with words, and richer with its stronger imagery and language.

    Enjoyed the poem. :)

  13. @Raven--I appreciate you taking the time to read and compare. I wrote the first one in ten minutes and never changed a word, extremely rare for me. I'm glad you like the poetry au naturel ;-)

  14. I'm so glad you continue to wring out the words so we have the pleasure of devouring them :)

    Hope you've had a lovely holiday weekend, hedgewitch!

  15. So interesting to see both forms! The rubaiyat is more playful, the free verse more elegant. I do love the reference to lemon curd tarts, recurring streets, and cut wrists as well as the ruby at the throat in the first. I like the untangling the tangled threads in the second. Heck, they're both great!

  16. Do geese see God?
    Do Geese see god?
    Do geese See god?

  17. Well, I like both versions very much, and they seem quite different to me==the couplets darker and more fantastical, the free verse sweeter, and, well, closer to the subject. (The couplets take this byway into the land of the dead--which is quite cool.

    I also love lemon curd, but my favorite stanza I think involves the palindromes and nightmare streets--oh yes--and the dead cutting the wrists of the living--ouch!


  18. Thanks all. Your input is always much appreciated.

    @G-Man: Have palindrome, will travel? AFA geese, they have quantum entanglements in their retinas that interpret light as a compass and all kinds of other things going for them--for all we know, they *are* god.

    @Talon: Good to see you out and about. Thanks for stopping by and hope you too had as good a holiday as possible.

  19. I don't know how others handled this prompt, but I think your posting an older one along with the revision for the prompt is extremely instructional. Not to mention a sheer delight. Omar would no doubt write something to you in appreciation!

    My favorite line is:
    But the kisses, no,
    they haven’t all been kissed,

    I love your proclamation that not everything has already been done before!

  20. To see both versions side by side is something of a revelation. This is a wonderful interpretation. Inspirational even. Thanks for showing both.

  21. I'm glad you showed both, too. I read the second first. And when I read the revision, it really popped! I love them both, but lavender become curdled tarts is wonderful, especially with bitter dread.

    There is something so winsome about ...

    And so my love, I hope you'll overlook
    redundancy and settle for the gist.

    Fine work, and thanks for showing the earlier draft. I sort of miss the part about tangling things up in the new version. I think of this with quilting . . . cutting up fabrics to piece them back together in a new whole. I hope you'll include this in another poem:

    with the long knit of the mind
    and yet I unravel and tangle them
    over and over, these same tired threads.

    Indeed, how do we keep finding new combinations, to express these age-old thoughts? Like new songs from the same notes. It's really incredible.

  22. I love the thoughts expressed. Yes, all the words probably have been said (or written) one way or another. It has been said "There is nothing new under the sun." But if something is new to YOU or new to ME, it is worth sharing, I believe. And even if it isn't new, some things do INDEED bear repeating. Have to keep that in mind myself oftentimes. (And, right...all the kisses have not been kissed..a nice touch!)

  23. I rate the wow-factor of both versions even-steven,, but I guess the more formal one wins by a ruby nose. Perhaps what makes it so is that making something really new using an more shopworn form makes it that much more special. What's redundant about a thousand kisses when "there's no beginning or end to what we wrote."? The song remains the same, and it's a damn good one. Keep on keepin' on. - Brendan

  24. @Ruth Thanks for your insightful words. I left you a longer answer on your comment on Songbird that fits this one even better, and I have used that tangled threads analogy in a few ways over the years--it's a very expressive one, and I've no doubt it will pop up again somewhere.Thanks for reading.

    @Mary: I agree--my point was actually very close to what you just said, that despite everything we continue to find subjects and slants, and try to express them.

    @B: Well, that's a first, you preferring the shorter form, but I tend to think your instinct with words, which has a nose of its own, is correct. Thanks for reading.

  25. I loved your Ruby Words, and then was very interested to see the free verse version. I like both but I think using the form has improved the poem. I particularly admire your brave departure in making a final couplet - and I think it works beautifully.

  26. It's exquisite. "The dead all come to cut the living wrist." Hell, I'd cut a living wrist or two to be able to write like that.

  27. ooooooh! love both of these! and i hope we never run out of kisses to be kissed...

  28. what if i pretend to be an owl?


    yes i am one of those, that ignores when you turn comments off...

    hope the crabs get better.


'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg