local_library Hard Times

by Ruth Daigon

Published in Issue No. 15 ~ August, 1998

Nineteen-thirty was a long,
cold childhood wedged into a scar
and food that filled half
the cupboard. Ma’d lick
the pencil stump and
make her lists. Each
item considered, written,
erased, re-written
according to what jingled
in the broken tea pot.

At six o’clock, she always
listened to the news and groaned,
her body a vast burial ground for
victims of plagues, revolutions,
wars, each groan another corpse.
She stood ironing, every stroke
a preparation for the burial,
a straightening of limbs,
a smoothing of features,
a final act of love.

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Ruth Daigon had this to say about writing poetry: "Since I was a professional singer long before I entered poetry, I use everything I know about music to discover the poem. Using the rhythmic discipline of music, I consider the cadence and tone of each word. The way a phrase curves between commas is similar for me to the way music curves between bar lines. All of these musical imperatives: emotional and tonal control, technical skill, the feeling of great depth and an even greater reserve of energy is now applied to my approach to poetry.The poem should produce in the reader the "aha" response. For me, poetry organizes the otherwise random, sometimes chaotic events of a life, giving it significance and structure. Every poem is an attempt to prod a reader into seeing more clearly and feeling more intensely about some facet of living. The poet gathers memories, impressions and word meanings and encodes them in a special language. If the poem is successful the reader derives intense pleasure at pulling it all together."