The Question

By Ruth Stone 1915–2011 Ruth Stone
While needles of the evergreen
practice a windy chaos,
heads of snarled hair;
something in the tree
longs for old age;
bald brown knobs of skull
without subterfuge;
but it continues with its greedy
resinous sexual odors.
The odors rise against one another,
spurting away from the scaly bark.
Along its fingers the tree
holds out microscopic traps.
Popping bullets of sunlight
crack into the subliminal
orifices, and the tree thinks,
“How exquisite. Is this love?”

Ruth Stone, “The Question” from Simplicity. Copyright © 1995 by Ruth Stone. Reprinted with the permission of Paris Press, Inc.

Source: Simplicity (1995)

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Poet Ruth Stone 1915–2011

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Nature, Trees & Flowers

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Ruth  Stone

Biography

Poet Ruth Stone was born in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1915 and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lived in a rural farmhouse in Vermont for much of her life and received widespread recognition relatively late with the publication of Ordinary Words (1999). The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was soon followed by other award-winning collections, including In the Next Galaxy (2002), winner . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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