Sun-Up

- 1873-1941
(Shadows over a cradle...
fire-light craning...,
A hand
throws something in the fire
and a smaller hand
runs into the flame and out again,
singed and empty...,
Shadows
settling over a cradle...
two hands
and a fire.)

More by Lola Ridge

Wall Street at Night

Long vast shapes... cooled and flushed through with darkness...
Lidless windows
Glazed with a flashy luster
From some little pert café chirping up like a sparrow.
And down among iron guts
Piled silver
Throwing gray spatter of light... pale without heat...
Like the pallor of dead bodies.

Celia

Cherry, cherry, 
glowing on the hearth, 
bright red cherry...
When you try to pick up cherry 
Celia's shriek 
sticks in you like a pin.

                     : :

When God throws hailstones 
you cuddle in Celia's shawl 
and press your feet on her belly 
high up like a stool. 
When Celia makes umbrella of her hand. 
Rain falls through 
big pink spokes of her fingers. 
When wind blows Celia's gown up off her legs 
she runs under pillars of the bank—
great round pillars of the bank 
have on white stockings too.

                     : :

Celia says my father
will bring me a golden bowl.
When I think of my father
I cannot see him
for the big yellow bowl
like the moon with two handles
he carries in front of him.

                     : :

Grandpa, grandpa...
(Light all about you...
ginger...pouring out of green jars...)
You don't believe he has gone away and left his great coat...
so you pretend...you see his face up in the ceiling.
When you clap your hands and cry, grandpa, grandpa, grandpa,
Celia crosses herself.

                     : :

It isn't a dream...
It comes again and again...
You hear ivy crying on steeples 
the flames haven't caught yet 
and images screaming 
when they see red light on the lilies 
on the stained glass window of St. Joseph. 
The girl with the black eyes holds you tight, 
and you run...and run 
past the wild, wild towers...
and trees in the gardens tugging at their feet 
and little frightened dolls 
shut up in the shops 
crying...and crying...because no one stops...
you spin like a penny thrown out in the street. 
Then the man clutches her by the hair...
He always clutches her by the hair...
His eyes stick out like spears. 
You see her pulled-back face 
and her black, black eyes 
lit up by the glare...
Then everything goes out. 
Please God, don't let me dream any more 
of the girl with the black, black eyes.

                     : :

Celia's shadow rocks and rocks...
and mama's eyes stare out of the pillow
as though she had gone away 
and the night had come in her place 
as it comes in empty rooms...
you can't bear it—
the night threshing about 
and lashing its tail on its sides 
as bold as a wolf that isn't afraid—and you scream at her face, that is white as a stone on a grave 
and pull it around to the light, 
till the night draws backward...the night that walks alone 
and goes away without end. 
Mama says, I am cold, Betty, and shivers. 
Celia tucks the quilt about her feet, 
but I run for my little red cloak 
because red is hot like fire.

                     : :

I wish Celia
could see the sea climb up on the sky
and slide off again...
...Celia saying
I'd beg the world with you...
Celia...holding on to the cab...
hands wrenched away...
wind in the masts...like Celia crying...
Celia never minded if you slapped her
when the comb made your hairs ache,
but though you rub your cheek against mama's hand
she has not said darling since...
Now I will slap her again...
I will bite her hand till it bleeds.

It is cool by the port hole.
The wet rags of the wind
flap in your face.

Mother

Your love was like moonlight
turning harsh things to beauty,
so that little wry souls
reflecting each other obliquely
as in cracked mirrors . . .
beheld in your luminous spirit
their own reflection,
transfigured as in a shining stream,
and loved you for what they are not.

You are less an image in my mind
than a luster
I see you in gleams
pale as star-light on a gray wall . . .
evanescent as the reflection of a white swan
shimmering in broken water.

Related Poems

Sun

Write this. We have burned all their villages

Write this. We have burned all the villages and the people in them

Write this. We have adopted their customs and their manner of dress

Write this. A word may be shaped like a bed, a basket of tears or an X

In the notebook it says, It is the time of mutations, laughter at jokes,
secrets beyond the boundaries of speech

I now turn to my use of suffixes and punctuation, closing Mr. Circle
with a single stroke, tearing the canvas from its wall, joined to her,
experiencing the same thoughts at the same moment, inscribing 
them on a loquat leaf

Write this. We have begun to have bodies, a now here and a now 
gone, a past long ago and one still to come

Let go of me for I have died and am in a novel and was a lyric poet, 
certainly, who attracted crowds to mountaintops. For a nickel I will 
appear from this box. For a dollar I will have text with you and 
answer three questions

First question. We entered the forest, followed its winding paths, and 
emerged blind

Second question. My townhouse, of the Jugendstil, lies by 
Darmstadt

Third question. He knows he will wake from this dream, conducted
in the mother-tongue

Third question. He knows his breathing organs are manipulated by 
God, so that he is compelled to scream

Third question. I will converse with no one on those days of the week 
which end in y

Write this. There is pleasure and pain and there are marks and signs. 
A word may be shaped like a fig or a pig, an effigy or an egg
                                                             but
there is only time for fasting and desire, device and design, there is 
only time to swerve without limbs, organs or face into a
                                                        scientific
silence, pinhole of light

Say this. I was born on an island among the dead. I learned language 
on this island but did not speak on this island. I am writing to you 
from this island. I am writing to the dancers from this island. The 
writers do not dance on this island

Say this. There is a sentence in my mouth, there is a chariot in my 
mouth. There is a ladder. There is a lamp whose light fills empty 
space and a space which swallows light

A word is beside itself. Here the poem is called What Speaking Means 
to Say
      though I have no memory of my name
	  
Here the poem is called Theory of the Real, its name is Let's Call This, 
and its name is called A Wooden Stick. It goes yes-yes, no-no. It goes 
one and one

I have been writing a book, not in my native language, about violins 
and smoke, lines and dots, free to speak and become the things we 
speak, pages which sit up, look around and row resolutely toward 
the setting sun

Pages torn from their spines and added to the pyre, so that they will 
resemble thought

Pages which accept no ink

Pages we've never seen--first called Narrow Street, then Half a 
Fragment, Plain of Jars or Plain of Reeds, taking each syllable in her 
mouth, shifting position and passing it to him

Let me say this. Neak Luong is a blur. It is Tuesday in the hardwood 
forest. I am a visitor here, with a notebook

The notebook lists My New Words and Flag above White. It claims 
to have no inside
                 only characters like A-against-Herself, B, C, L and 
N, Sam, Hans Magnus, T. Sphere, all speaking in the dark with their 
hands

     G for Gramsci or Goebbels, blue hills, cities, cities with hills, 
modern and at the edge of time

                               F for alphabet, Z for A, an H in
an arbor, shadow, silent wreckage, W or M among stars

What last. Lapwing. Tesseract. X perhaps for X. The villages are 
known as These Letters--humid, sunless. The writing occurs on
their walls