Thursday, July 24

In the Spotlight: Kay Ryan

I don't often write about poetry on this blog. It is what occupies me in so much of my life and I like to reserve this space for other thoughts and inspirations. Today, though, I can't resist.

The Library of Congress has just announced the new United States Poet Laureate and it's wonderful news: Kay Ryan. Ryan is only the fourth woman officially named to this prestigious national literary position. Her poems have been described as "tiny, ingenious devices that inevitably conceal some hidden wonder." Salon's critic warns: don't think these pieces are merely decorative. (This, coincidentally, is how I think about good design--at its best it, too, is not simply decorative but deeply poetic. Good design also has a deeply eloquent language. A topic for another day...I digress!)

One of my favorites is called "Patience"--something I could use more of, always:

Patience is
wider than one
once envisioned,
with ribbons
of rivers
and distant
ranges and
tasks undertaken
and finished
with modest
relish by
natives in their
native dress.
Who would
have guessed
it possible
that waiting
is sustainable—
a place with
its own harvests.
Or that in
time's fullness
the diamonds
of patience
couldn't be
from the genuine
in brilliance
or hardness.

This last sentence is so profound, so enigmatic. It makes me think that, just months ago, I received one of the greatest gifts of my life--a beautifully small and perfect diamond ring. This tiny thing is my most precious possession. I wonder about the "diamonds of patience" that cannot be distinguished from it. What a powerful meditation. The perfect thing to contemplate a month into marriage.

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