Narrative Magazine: Ruth Stone, author of eleven poetry collections, has endured poverty, tragedy, and obscurity to emerge as a preeminent American poet who is still writing her ironic, musical poems at the age of ninety-six. The simplicity on the surface of the poems and the ordinariness of the topics, such as the apple in the poem featured here, belies the deeper power and mystery—even transcendence—of her writing.
by Ruth Stone
HOLDING IN MY left hand an apple;
they told me it was naturally grown.
No sprays. Or if sprayed,
the spray’s not as deadly as some;
the skin, red as a Vermont
sunset in late summer,
when something, insects, pollution,
thickens the lower layers of air
and the light shifts to deep red,
slanting up from the rim of the world
that slopes downhill from us and then
the entire mountain and valley are bathed in it.
As if the sun is a giant ruby—
a jewel like Betelgeuse.
All this while, I am eating the apple;
its insides glowing
like the summer sun that rises
at the edge of morning.
A crisp yellow-white,
full of miracles;
eating its moderately poisoned fruit,
in this careless moment,
in this careless moment of life.
From "What Love Comes To"
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