Saturday, March 01, 2008


from the bureau of words
in the drawer of my mind
looking through the mess
for order

looking at morning’s mural
painted on energetic flesh
in my eye my yard
my neighbors

migration dilated
made larger in parking places
to morning movement
seen and heard

and understood
without speech words
which aren’t even kempt
in dictionaries

found but confused
under alphabetical tyranny

never understanding silent order
of string to fingers
and vinegar to nose


Michelle Johnson said...

Simply beautiful. The second and third stanzas are my favorites. The line without speech words is a very strong line and makes way for the ending to be strong as well. Your poetry is strong, vivid and deeply connected to the world around you. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend.

paisley said...

the challenge i find is as you have stated so wonderfully here:

and understood
without speech words
which aren’t even kempt
in dictionaries

that for which there are no words.....

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Machelle for that wonderful comment. I am deeply honored by your words. I hope you will also have a nice weekend.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Paisley! There is a whole world out there that neither needs nor uses words. Five senses that understand the smell or touch of something but not necessarily how to say what they experience are a real challenge (and an asset) for an aspiring poet. I really enjoyed your Pantoum and will be back to comment on it soon.

Christine said...

You start out with strong metaphors! We all have those junk drawers that can reflect our mental state.

And then you take the reader to the outside world, then back to the mental state. Wonderful!

I noticed you are living in Kasakstan. How interesting! I'll have to read more of your blog to find out your story.

Welcome to Michelle's Poefusion. She's a great lady, providing us with inspiration and challenges every week.

lissa said...

the 4th stanza's my favorite, though I'm not so great at commenting on poetry but I do think you've done a great job.

tumblewords said...

Very nice work. Strong words and images - very nice!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Christine! Thanks for those appreciative words about my poem. Yes I live in Kazakhstan. I moved here 15 years ago to be an executive chef in a newly privatized hotel. Three years ago I started teaching English at the university. Rilke was talking about the hardship of being a poet, I believe. The absolute need to write is the only thing that will keep you going when the obstacles all pile up on you. good luck with your poetry!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Lissa! Glad you liked the poem. Thanks for the great comment.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Tumblewords! Your comment is very much appreciated. I'm glad you found this interesting.

Pat Paulk said...

which aren’t even kempt
in dictionaries" my kind of words!! Another masterpiece from the cef of poetry!!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Pat! What a fabulous comment. Glad you enjoyed the poem my old friend.

LittleWing said...

from beginning to end it is a true reflection of everyday life... i especially like 2nd to last ".. under alphabetical tyranny.....

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Littlewing! I'm glad these words were graceful and pleasant for you. Your comment is greatly appreciated.