Laura Sherwood Rudish

A Restrained Thought Does Not As A
  Rule Return To The Mind
Souvenir of a Closed Rite
Fragments of the Light
Valhalla, New York
A Commitment to the Real
for William Butler Yeats
Between the Fragrance of Spring and Our Unbearable Fall
Between Ultra-Violet And Infra-Red
Some False Divide
Houses Without Gardens Without Stone Walls
The Visible Spectrum

A Restrained Thought Does Not As A
  Rule Return To The Mind

I'm not the voice of a vast silence not
a wilderness bell

no more an ear than the night
though once or twice this dark-petaled heart
rose to a listening on the verge of speech no

the art of courtly love escapes me
I who woo what I cannot hold
a lost well
or a word unspoken
try to maintain a sense

a compass

but mostly christ it's I
a wobbly needle near to north then
veering wide-arced off the mark I mock my good
intentions there's so many of me here

and then there's no one

I who am so only

if I flash a light will I find
I contain a suspect poverty? This unnecessary
emptiness this warped reflection in the bent teaspoon
It's mine

The essential weirdness of this place I am
unfolds speaking yes

no one can love
unless compelled by the persuasion of love but there's no real
excuse for not loving Last night
I awoke to that part of me who watches and waits whispering
your life isn't safe if you go on this way

~ .

Souvenir of a Closed Rite

When it rains at Stonehenge the crows unfold.
Their shadows tend the abandonment.
They roost among plinth holes
Pick at dropped crisps and soggy bits of ice cream cones.

Lambs graze by a broken gate.

There's something waiting beyond the corner
Of my eye. If I could only catch a glimpse of.

So clothed in hazes.

White sheets snap on the clothesline by the kitchen door.

~ .

Fragments of the Light

Valhalla, New York

This moon reflected in my side view mirror
is closer than it appears.

It rises slowly over the parking lot
a dusky blush of harvest cast low
between the rhododendron and the yew.

Beyond my windshield, night
and time and its turning
drains warmth from illusion

and love, how the moon moves
small and high
a pale mask of horned bone adrift.

      *      *      *

For a time you were closer than you appeared
the promise of you hovering bright—

just out of reach. I almost yielded, then
your name—not spoken—receded in time
turning and straining illusion

from love. At last
earth's dark embrace
reveals the bounds of longing—
cools us and removes us from each other—

and we pale before midnight
all our dependent artifice
indifferent before the stars' fire.

~ .

A Commitment to the Real

for William Butler Yeats

At daybreak a baby bat sleeps on the third stair;

                      For a long time I had trouble
                      selecting the ideas that belonged to me.

a darkened rose petal;

                      Everyone began to say I was a medium
                      and that if I would not resist,

                                                        a strayed angel.

                                                        some wonderful thing

would happen.

~ .

Between the Fragrance of Spring and Our Unbearable Fall

Summer absorbs the core of the sun
Long days press fruit warmer and more
gorged by the flame's dark tongue

Faint trail of honeyed wings
among the branches Bees
eat their whole heads into ripeness

Trees groan as swarms perfume the peach


Soft belly of the bee Simple pulses run
Stained by scent of sun and want

By nectar stung.

~ .

Between Ultra-Violet And Infra-Red

Daddy's in pain again. Wordless
He mouths too much too much.
He's in a new light
Gray sweatsuit.

A white restraining belt
Sags around his chest.
Such high cheekbones—
Wish I had such high cheekbones,

Jessica says but she's in tears.
The room is warm.
A nurse's aide floats in
In a yellow gown and mask.

She moves him from chair to bed.
None of us knows how.

~ .

Some False Divide

A butterfly can rise on a torn wing
A drowning bee can drain away
The pool of a five-year-old's cloudy knowing

From beyond
Wings to a child's heart beat
Landing over and over

It depends what kind of child you are
Whether you suffer for or suffer with
As God looks down

Absorbs us—hears us suffer
To fly—who can say
I did not come to be with you?

~ .

Houses Without Gardens Without Stone Walls

Stones and crystals mostly silent
Our human show

All our bodies so entwined
With our ever-asking minds

We're infinitely needy here You

For example Were you
Ever happy? Even
In your stillness some small ear

Then you ask
Why can't I be a woman in a garden?

~ .

The Visible Spectrum

We sit side by side at the polished pear-wood table,
Our reflections blurred in a soft shine of knotted wood.

He wears a peach lambswool sweater and khaki pants.
This is a great room, I say. The afternoon sun slants

Through a south window and pools on the faded Persian rug.

I sit here at night, he says. In that chair by the window—

His brown eyes water.
Watching what, Dad? He looks down at his hands.

The ice melts in my glass of diet coke.
I'm being erased, he says. And not just that—

I'm erasing myself. And I'm watching.

(Laura Sherwood Rudish's work has appeared in small journals in Great Britain and in the United States. She is a founding partner of Poetry OtherWise, a week-long festival held each year in East Sussex, England. Rudish is a first-year graduate student in the Sarah Lawrence MFA poetry program.)