I met Ruth Stone in college. After all these years the only memory I have left of her actual being is her bright hair and her smile. She sat at the head of a table (in the post office?- that can’t be right), and I at her right elbow. I must have spoken to her but that part is gone. This is probably the way a baby remembers. I was still so new,  I can’t say positively that I was even born. By the time we met, I had recently read her books. I do remember reading, unable to stop even as I walked around campus, and I remember feeling overwhelmed, as if, in my babyhood, it was written just for me.

. . . . .

Second- Hand Coat (1987)

The Plan

I said to myself, do you have a plan?

And the answer was always, no, I have no plan.

Then I would say to myself, you must think of one.

But what happened went on, chaotic with necessary pain.

During the winter the dogs dug moles from their runs

And rolled them blind on frozen road.

Then the crossbills left at the equinox.

All this time I tried to think of a plan,

Something to bring the points together.

I saw that we move in a circle

But I was wordless in the field.

The smell of green steamed, everything shoved,

But I folded my hands and sat on the rocks.

Here I am, I said, with my eyes.

When they have fallen like marbles from their sockets,

What will become of this? And then I remembered

That there were young moles in my mind’s eye,

Whose pink bellies shaded to mauve plush,

Whose little dead snouts sparkled with crystals of frost;

And then it came to me, the blind will be leading the blind.

. . . . .

Who Is The Widow’s Muse? (1991)


Going past Utica

 the widow is reminded

of the cotton mills.

Almost a century of Utica sheets

and pillowcases;

the great brick buildings

blackened with soot.

The widow’s knowledge of all this

was gleaned largely

from old stereoscopic cards…

double pictures of girls

standing in long rows

with their long hair hanging down

their backs and their long skirts

and their white waist shirts,

tending the long rows of looms.

Some of them were

sending their brothers to college.

“Yes, it’s true,” the muse sighs.

2 thoughts on “

  1. Wonderful photo that accompanies this amazing obituary. Thank you for introducing me to Ruth Stone.

    “She wrote about milk bottling; her grandmother’s hair; and of random thoughts while hanging laundry, which included Einstein’s mustache and the eyesight of ants.”

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