Ann Muto: A favorite poem

After Too Long A Solitude
by James Ragan

I need to read James Ragan’s poems multiple times in order to appreciate all the rich textures and images he includes.  After all of that, I am challenged to sort out the meaning woven into that tapestry.  For me this poem speaks to what he hopes his words can do.

Ann Muto
Retired educator
Docent: Pt. Lobos State Reserve  and  Japanese American Museum of San Jose


After Too Long A Solitude

I usually wake and walk about the city,
to free my breath, and with a word
brush the feathers of the tongue, softly,
through a whisper, to nudge the silence forward.
I wade in lugs of seaweed, always along the pier pilings
to be a circling wind to the dimpled waters
or a shout one judders like a pebbled can
to shape a timid voice to laughter.
At noon I load the morning’s memory
with sounds of osprey, their walk-talk
clear and sleek as glass glimmerings.
By nightfall when the sky dissolves
into the red twinings of an intimate light,
I dance my words to the lute of a warbling tanager
And watch the fall moon lilt
into myriads of thatched kindling.

If I could breathe all words into infinity,
I’d drink beyond the mind
all of space an original thought inhabits.
I’d spare no passion in believing that it sings.
I’d touch the sun as if it were new,
as if for the first time to name a thing,
the rust in fire, cloth in stone.  I’d carve the wind
with parting lips to know the ivory in its sensations,
as if a kiss like a gesture, formed a thousand times,
were immigrant to a foreign skin.
And always and in every dance,
I would want to hear each note passing into song
as a beat rising to crescendo, timeless as an insight
or a moon in the shade of the sun,
in spiral spins of inspiration, arriving
at once with being gone.

James Ragan



Filed under Favorite Poem

3 responses to “Ann Muto: A favorite poem

  1. Ann, so good to find you here on this blog. I love the poem, especially the last two lines…how true. I haven’t heard of James Ragan, but now, will be looking out for some more of his work…Thank you for sharing.

  2. Vicki L. Harvey

    Thank you Ann for this pick. I have also read this a few times letting it roll off my tongue so easily. I also want to read more of James Ragan. The meaning is deep within the words and I think it takes a few readings to find your true meaning of this piece.

  3. Long ago (1997) James Ragan came to Montalvo and read, along with a famous Irish poet. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed his poetry, so much more than the other poet. Ragan’s book, The Hunger Wall, is now down from the shelf and ready to read.
    Thank you for choosing a poem of his new to me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s