Posted in poetry

Poem for a Day

Be prepared for a couple more posts today (if I get to them) as I attempt to catch up on reviewing all of the books I have finished in the past week. For now, I’ll leave you with a poem I read this morning. It reminds me of myself in a classroom when I am hesitant to raise my hand and give an answer. Instead of berating herself for not answering, the author sees the power she has in holding the answer.

The Hand

The teacher asks a question.
You know the answer, you suspect
you are the only one in the classroom
who knows the answer, because the person
in question is yourself, and on that
you are the greatest living authority,
but you don’t raise your hand.
You raise the top of your desk
and take out an apple.
You look out the window.
You don’t raise your hand and there is
some essential beauty in your fingers,
which aren’t even drumming, but lie
flat and peaceful.
The teacher repeats the question.
Outside the window, on an overhanging branch,
a robin is ruffling its feathers
and spring is in the air.

—Mary Ruefle


From Cold Pluto, 1996, 2001
Carnegie Mellon University Press

Copyright 1996, 2001 Mary Ruefle.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press. Copyright 1996, 2001 by Mary Ruefle. For further permissions information, contact Cynthia Lamb, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 5032 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15289-1021,

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