Mount Solitude

Snow shelves sit like sentinels
Waiting for a tuft-eared lynx
Stacked like dishes jutting jewels
Balance weights on tiny chinks

Dripping in the sun all day
Frozen stiff in lunar light
Every ochre brown in play
Moss and snow for green and white

Painters’ knives have layered slices
Millions upon million years
Chopped again the melted splices
Burst in fire were washed in tears

Nothing climbs atop, you see
No shrew to toss a pebble down
Not one barren windswept tree
Ice for a filigree crown

Far above a soaring eagle
Sees this lonely halo high
Lacking gemstones thought more regal
Lends his glinting ruby eye


Can’t Imagine

I can’t imagine how they step
upon the ice like shards of glass
between the pungees of the forest
or human-littered grass

I can’t imagine sprongy springs
Achilles heel attached
allowing them to fly at will
o’er windfalls, fences, creeks, unmatched

I can’t imagine belly cold
pink skin tight, cheeks sucked in, trembling,
misty breath, noses nipped and numb,
thin fur, thin veins, throbbing, tingling

I can’t imagine lying down
in snow, atop snow, under snow
no straw or bed to lay my head
shivering in that slivering blow


Grey Owl, Visiting

I’ve gone into the woods, where
hanging mosses eat the air.
Fog is drenching everywhere.

Coiling clouds paint all things grey.
Charcoal bark, bone branches fray,
dead from dark, driftwood-bare, bay.

Someone raised the falling dew
with rising mists: I wonder who?
Dry sunbeams float, far and few.

Striped birches, black and white, sink.
Jet black creek, calligraphy ink,
curves into pond, sunrise pink.

Happy to see me, Grey Owl?
What’s under your painted scowl?
Curious cat, how you prowl!

Triple-lidded, dished-in eyes,
apoplectic surprise:
wonder why they call you “wise?”

I, who listens to your coo,
a logical person, too,
believe no myth about you.

You’re rocking back on your haunch,
dodge your head, stealthily launch,
stuff furry mouse into your paunch.

Grey Owl, are you flirting with me?
Grey Owl, your wing is so downy!
Grey Owl, why am I up in the tree?


What’s ‘In-d-visible,’ Mommy?

“What does the wind look like?”
“You see it in the swallow’s tail,
it’s split in two, to turn the sail.
On gliding air, silent owl stalks.
If forest blew, the owl would flail.”

“What does a spirit look like?”
“The smile, the eyes, the peaceful stance,
kindness, gifts, the invite to dance,
compassion, empathy, a pause:
you can tell the spirit by the glance.”

“What does knowledge look like?”
“You see the hands – it’s how they move,
with care, precision, nary a shove;
by practice, expertly, they glide,
by blind feel, no need for a glove.”

“What’s Satan look like?”
“Might be family, or a friend:
his stabs at you will seldom end.
I hope he never comes through me,
but betrayal’s something he might send.”

“What does love look like?”
“I tuck you in; I sing a song.
My prayers are with you all night long.
My eyes are open; I’m on guard!
You’ll wake up right where you belong.”


Update on My Spiritual Journey to Thailand

The only serpents here I see
are those of our humanity.
Though snakes are belly-crawling cursed,
surely they are not the worst.

The only thief Macaques I find
are neighbors whose own eyes are blind.
They do not work and cannot see
those things not theirs belong to me.

The only headstrong bulls or bullies,
with flannels, whiskers, tucked-in woolies,
who swear and tear and roar like bear:
it’s all an act; they fake it fully.

The only devil, dare I say,
is one who’s always in my way,
never says much nor attracts me,
but plants the seed of doubt that smacks me.


Ruth Hill was born and educated in upstate New York. She has traveled North America extensively, and is a Certified Design Engineer. She is a lifelong dedicated tutor, and enjoys spoken word. Over 160 of her poems have been published.

These poems are among the entries for the Society of Classical Poets’ 2012 Poetry Competition.

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