Learn More

Li-Young Lee


With Ruins


Choose a quiet
place, a ruins, a house no more
a house,
under whose stone archway I stood
one day to duck the rain.

The roofless floor, vertical
studs, eight wood columns
supporting nothing,
two staircases careening to nowhere, all
make it seem

a sketch, notes to a house, a three-
dimensional grid negotiating
absences,
an idea
receding into indefinite rain,

or else that idea
emerging, skeletal
against the hammered sky, a
human thing, scoured seen clean
through from here to an iron heaven.

A place where things
were said and done,
there you can remember
what you need to
remember. Melancholy is useful. Bring yours.

There are no neighbors to wonder
who you are,
what you might me doing
walking there,
stopping now and then

to touch a crumbling brick
or stand in a doorway
framed by the day.
No one has to know you
thing of another doorway

that framed the rain or news of war
depending on which way you faced.
You think of sea-roads and earth-roads
you traveled once, and always
in the same direction: away.

You think
of a woman, a favorite
dress, your old father's breasts
the last time you saw him, his breath,
brief, the leaf

you've torn from a vine and which you hold now
to your cheek like a train ticket
or a piece of cloth, a little hand or a blade -
it all depends
on the course of your memory.

It's a place
for those who own no place
to correspond to ruins in the soul.
It's mine.
It's all yours.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: house, rain, remember, memory, war, woman, father, heaven, sea, sky, travel, women

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (With Ruins by Li-Young Lee )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie John Linstrom (4/5/2012 2:26:00 PM)

    The end of the seventh stanza should read think of another doorway - not thing of another doorway. (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  2. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  3. If, Rudyard Kipling
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas
  6. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  7. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  8. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  10. The Saddest Poem, Pablo Neruda

Poem of the Day

poet James Whitcomb Riley

There! little girl; don't cry!
They have broken your doll, I know;
And your tea-set blue,
And your play-house, too,
Are things of the long ago;
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. How I Once Spent a Friday Afternoon, M.J. Lemon
  2. Every dog's ordeal, Lubinda Lubinda
  3. An Ethereal Bloom, Margaret Alice Second
  4. surrealist day, lee fones
  5. Gnarled Syllogism, Paul Hartal
  6. God Bless You, Michael P. McParland
  7. Further, Michael P. McParland
  8. Fulfillment, Michael P. McParland
  9. Frustration, Michael P. McParland
  10. Psycho Babble Scribble Squabble And Scra.., Blu 1 Blu 1 (Rio de Janeiro)
[Hata Bildir]