I have been really loving autumn this year, somehow thriving on the starkness…
That is probably part of what drove me to write this poem, Rumi in Ridgway Park. Something about the dryness of the leaves and the starkness hit several chords in me at once—one chord that resonated with the surrender of the fallen leaves and another chord that longed for the glory of the recently passed fall colors.
And so it was, as often happens, that a line from Rumi came and helped lead me toward a deeper surrender even as I rail against it.
Rumi in Ridgway Park
(With a quote from “On Letting Go,” by Rumi, Ghazal (Ode) 323
Translation by Nader Khalili)
They’re all brown now,
the leaves that last week
rained soft gold. Brown.
No, there is nothing soft
about the way they crunch
and crackle underneath my feet
as I weave inconsistent paths
around the park.
I find me wishing impossible things,
a longing for the way things were,
such soft gold leaves, the warmth, the light,
and feel some queer delight in wanting
the impossible. “Fall in love with the agony
of love,” says Rumi. “Not the ecstasy.”
He is circling on the merry go round,
his head flung back to the sky.
“Really,” I say.
“Yeah, really,” he says.
“Shit,” I say.
“Yeah,” he says. “I knew that’s what you’d say.”
Shit. I think to myself. He smiles.
The sky turns darker gray.
“But,” I say.
“Yeah,” says Rumi. “I knew you’d say that, too.”
Inside me, I notice something brown.
Something crackling toward dust.
“Okay,” I say.
“Okay,” he says.
And we say nothing for a long, long time.
The naked trees show no impatience.
The leaves show no remorse.
He offers me an empty swing.
I take it. I know this isn’t really flying.
But for a moment, I feel perhaps
what the leaves feel, the small thrill of falling,
the rush of what comes next as part of me
lets go, even as my hands grip
tighter on the chains.
(This poem, “Rumi in Ridgway Park,” is similar to a collection published two years ago: “The MiracleAlready Happening: Everyday Life with Rumi,” in which the author converses with the Sufi mystic in all kinds of surprising places—from the kindergarten classroom to the beach to the Walmart parking lot).
~Click play below to hear Rosemerry recite and illustrate her poem with this video~
Poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer “is a chanteuse of the heart,” says poet Art Goodtimes. She served two terms as the first poet laureate for San Miguel County, Colorado, where she still leads monthly poetry readings, teaches in schools, leads writing workshops and leaves poems written on rocks around the town. Her most recent collection, The Less I Hold, comes out of her poem-a-day practice, which she has been doing for over seven years. Her work has also appeared on A Prairie Home Companion and in O Magazine, on tie-dyed scarves, alleyway fences and in her children’s lunchboxes. Favorite one-word mantra: adjust. Visit her website here for ideas about writing, and to read her daily poems click here.
~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~