You can see the sandhills from our new room.
live in the sandhills
Your love was like moonlight
turning harsh things to beauty,
so that little wry souls
Innumerable ions of light,
All to their foci tending…
Tender and tremulous green of leaves
Turned up by the wind,
Twanging among the vines -
Wind in the grass
The crackle of the palm trees
Over the mooned white roofs of the town…
The shining town…
Dreams only change their houses.
They cannot be lined up against a wall
And quietly buried under ground,
Out of fiery contacts…
Rushing auras of steel
Touching and whirled apart…
Out of the charged phallases
When Art goes bounding, lean,
Up hill-tops fired green
To pluck a rose for life.
A late snow beats
With cold white fists upon the tenements -
Hurriedly drawing blinds and shutters,
Like tall old slatterns
Crass rays streaming from the vestibules;
Cafes glittering like jeweled teeth;
Blinking yellow phosphorescent eyes;
Of faces, façades, pawn-shops,
Smoky and fly-blown glass of lunch-rooms,
how it would be here with you,
where the wind
that has shaken off its dust in low valleys
Oh, God did cunningly, there at Babel -
Not mere tongues dividing, but soul from soul,
So that never again should men be able
To fashion one infinite, towering whole.
I love those spirits
That men stand off and point at,
Or shudder and hood up their souls -
Those ruined ones,
Wind, just arisen -
(Off what cool mattress of marsh-moss
In tented boughs leaf-drawn before the stars,
Or niche of cliff under the eagles?)
Where to-day would a dainty buyer
Imbibe your scented juice,
Pale ruin with a heart of fire;
Drain your succulence with her lips,
glowing on the hearth,
bright red cherry….
When you try to pick up cherry
Out of the night you burn, Manhattan,
In a vesture of gold -
Span of innumerable arcs,
Flaring and multiplying -
an anarchist poet and an influential editor of avant-garde, feminist, and Marxist publications best remembered for her long poems and poetic sequences. She, along with other political poets of the early Modernist period, has been coming under increasing critical scrutiny at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Life and Writings Ridge grew up in New Zealand and Australia, and moved to the San Francisco in 1907. Her first book, The Ghetto and Other Poems was published in 1918. The title poem portrays the Jewish community of Hester Street New York, and deals with the effects of capitalism, gender conflict and conflicts between generations on this immigrant community in ways that bear comparison to the works of Charles Reznikoff. The book was a critical success and led to her involvement with avant-garde magazines such as Others and Broom. Ridge went on to publish four more books of poetry. October 22, 1919, she married David Laws. In 1929, she went to Yaddo. In 1935, she was a Guggenheim Fellow. In 1936, she won the Shelley Memorial Award. Her papers are held at Smith College. Political Activities Although never a member of any political party, she protested against the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927, for which she was arrested. She also supported Tom Mooney, and Warren Billings, who had been framed for a bombing at the Preparedness Day Parade in San Francisco in 1916. Her third book, Red Flag 1927 collected much of her political poetry.)
I have a dream
to fill the golden sheath
of a remembered day....
heavy and massed and blue
as the vapor of opium...
fired in sulphurous mist...
quiescent as a gray seal...
and the emerging sun
spurting up gold
over Sydney, smoke-pale, rising out of the bay....)
But the day is an up-turned cup
and its sun a junk of red iron
guttering in sluggish-green water--
where shall I pour my dream?