William Ruleman




Almost Innisfree

(13 May 2013)

Somehow we failed to get to you that day,

But there are many isles out on Lough Gill.

(Perhaps we passed you somewhere on our way.)

Enough to say scant peace came "dropping still":

The elements were in a fitful mood,

But even they could hardly match our will

To "see the sights," not seek out solitude.

Still, mystery reigned amid the rain and chill

Despite our rush to capture all we could:

The way those sudden shafts of sun would spear

The scintillant moss, the succulent ivy, or

The water as it glugged against the shore.

I'm glad we parked and walked a while, my dear,

Toward Innisfree, at least, there in Slish Wood.



Words for a Would-Be Saint

 

Confess to all the little sins of several years—

The times you told the truth with tongue but not with heart,

Or when you raved with feverish fervor, feeling none,                           

Or uttered ancient creeds while not believing them.

To suit your soul, you need to slack off some—perhaps

Shrug off fair-weather friends or miss a meeting or two.

 

Too bad the wrongs you've already done hadn't been more fun!

Instead, they're more of the blandly Puritanical kind:

All "fire and strength" and precious little "sweetness and light."

 

But all this might be helped by trying the simple truth—

So hard to live, and those who do are oft thought  mad—

So tell the silent skies, the trees, the beasts, who share

Your loneliness. To them—and no one else—confess!





William Ruleman's poems and translations have appeared in many journals, including, most recently, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Galway Review, and The Sonnet Scroll, with others forthcoming in The Pennsylvania Review, The Deronda Review, and Rubies in the Darkness. His collections of poetry include A Palpable Presence (2001) and Sacred and Profane Loves (2002), both from Feather Books. He has translated selections from Rilke's Neue Gedichte for WillHall Books (2003) and Vienna Spring: Early Novellas and Stories of Stefan Zweig for Ariadne Press (2010). Currently he is Professor of English at Tennessee Wesleyan College.









                                    

 

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