Heartfelt Baptism

The morning rain that washes this day clean
of yesterday’s despair, of last night’s sleep,
and promises to turn the pastures green
by falling gently, penetrating deep,
is waking spring in me and in the ground
while tapping rhythms on the windowpane
that lift my heart to hopeful heights, a sound
like soothing whispers singing out my name,
like boyhood dreams that somehow weren’t denied
the blooming they deserved, the chance to grow.
The tears the darkened April sky has cried
fall not for naught, because they let me know
I’m not detached, but very much a part
of what’s outside these walls and in my heart.



With Earnest Eyes

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” —John Keats

Let us not languish in this age of lies
or give away our precious days to grief.
Let us pursue the Truth with earnest eyes

while liars scheme and selfishly devise
dishonest ways of “bringing in the sheaf.”
Let us not languish in this age of lies

while charlatans convince us they are wise
in sermons that roll on without relief.
Let us pursue the Truth with earnest eyes,

a light the darkness of these days defies
with black redactions on a legal brief.
Let us not languish in this age of lies;

Instead, let’s lift the veil of disguise
and face all facts still worthy of belief.
Let us pursue the Truth with earnest eyes.

It sleeps beneath a shroud but never dies
and can be found like spring’s returning leaf.
Let us not languish in this age of lies.
Let us pursue the Truth with earnest eyes.



Much Moved

“My lord, I see y’are much moved.”
“No.  Not much moved.”

—Iago and Othello, Act III, Scene III

I can’t keep still the moving things in me,
convulsions caused by paradox and need.
The hungry maggot and the honeybee

that meld into a strange duality
are inkstained blood my veins of humor bleed.
I can’t keep still the moving things in me

that blind me even as they make me see
the lies that bind all charity to greed.
The hungry maggot and the honeybee

turn laughter loose and set my hot tears free,
collapsing walls intended to impede.
I can’t keep still the moving things in me,

the sweet and bitter bits of clarity,
the falling leaves that feed the planted seed.
The hungry maggot and the honeybee,

like bird songs chasing silence from a tree,
raise winds in which my restless passions breed.
I can’t keep still the moving things in me:
the hungry maggot and the honeybee.



Mike Ruskovich lives in Grangeville, Idaho. He taught high school English for thirty-six years. He and his wife have four children.

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3 Responses

  1. Paul A. Freeman

    I particularly liked the first of your two villanelles, ‘With Earnest Eyes’, Mike. It speaks volumes of our times.

    Your ‘Heartfelt Baptism’ reminded me of the opening lines of the Canterbury Tales, which strangely, only yesterday, I wrote my own take of.

    Thanks for the reads.

  2. Cheryl Corey

    I especially enjoyed “Heartfelt Baptism”. The first four lines pulled me in and made me want to keep reading. The accompanying artwork is lovey and appropriate.

  3. Martin Rizley

    I agree with Cheryl Corey about the first lines of “Heartfelt Baptism” drawing you in and inviting the reader to read on. There is some lovely imagery here, and a hopeful outlook symbolized by those April rains that signal the return of spring and of new life. Lovely poem.

    I also appreciate the call you express in your second poem to seeing truth in an “age of lies.” While the reference to charlatans is well understood– they certainly abound in the modern world– I was not entirely sure to what the phrase “black redactions on a legal brief” refers. Perhaps you had in mind laws that are passed based on lies and propaganda?

    Good work.


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