By Ruth Stone 1915–2011 Ruth Stone
I went back, as to my relatives.
When I arrived, the elms had been shaved.
But you were all the same.
The buildings, the dry classrooms.
I embraced your eyes, your avenues.
You were fixed in the same expressions.
Your flat voices, your dental work,
like your lips, slipping over words already said.
Additional agricultural pamphlets;
many of you sat in private offices.
Why did I think I could drag it all back,
the former edge of town where
streets ended in fields under clouds
puffed like the French phrases
he kissed me with in the sucked-in breath
of that illusive happiness.
Coming back, listening, looking;
ready to take your bodies in my hands.
Returning to streets that had poured
heavy shopping malls
over the hay-sweet grass
where he and I lay whispering
the most important nonsense
of my desperate and embittered life.

Ruth Stone, “Romance” from Ordinary Words. Copyright © 1999 by Ruth Stone. Reprinted with the permission of Paris Press, Inc.

Source: Ordinary Words (1999)

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Poet Ruth Stone 1915–2011

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Relationships, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Ruth  Stone


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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SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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