Mary Rudge


Photo : Marjorie Lynne Wagner








Luminous along the walkway in the darkening air,
the fire twirlers have come to the campus,
past a turbulence of guitars, by the open gate.

We have been, in earth-stained white cords or
worn-through jeans, sitting on new grass,
clean, strong, green, under trees with leaves
intermingling with our voices. We talk of Einstein,
Schweitzer, ecology, history, and stronger than all
courses — through veins the flowing pulse of love.
Against nuclear glare we would hold this light.

Leaving our shelter, we walk among those
who take fire in their hands, dare to make it an art.
The burning learning, like whirling light
in the hands of the fire twirlers,
swirls in the cortex of brain, its spark —
so we would change the darkness.

Holding in common what we know of fiery core,
Let me tell you that I feel through space,
even after our light on earth dims,
even after seeing stars fall in the eternal void,
what we spark in each other makes a difference.


Sleek Head Pleasing Yourself
(Poem to a Long-haired Girl)

Before you command its cutting
i fill my heart with not-forgetting
the way your hair looked
when it grew long —
long as thousand small grasses
and wild flowers of Mt Bruno
full of dust and summer —
and waves of Bay waters,
flow of the Estuary,
in the wake of your going,
pale new tendrils on treetops
on Mt Tamalpais.
and wood smoke wisps and snowy owl wing
feathers when your hair fluttered
in its own winds.

When you decide it is a burden
held on a slender frame,
a nuisance to brush out electric sparks,
and you’re irritable and maddened by its
sunflower blaze on tour neck’s slight stalk
I’ll never blame you.

If it falls to be swept on the floor,
coiled in a drawer,
in my heart’s eye I’ll see it, scattered
in meadow of fern and leaves —
tangled with weed rooted
touched earth to me it will be the
wild ponies tail
of dusky scrub horse sought by ropes of
You will be
as the snake in his new skin slipped from
his past.
I will see you lamb sheared, sleek head
pleasing yourself
and all that hair that wild hair loosed
will brush forever past my lips fragrant
with wreaths of berries, tousled clover
and small sweet flowers.



sunflower seed teeth, tumbleweed hair, firefly eyes,
hoofbeat rhythm heart, whatever is here is here
only as you have it in you
nothing has power to be here
unless you bring or keep it

your coal miner voice, your
sailing fleet glances,
your typeset fingerprint, your sweet jazz conversation,
your comet eyes, your jasmine kiss,
your palomino gold skin, your wildfire hair,
your west wind laugh

in your vision in your vein in your brain

your curbstone position, your flexible anklebones,
your skateboard heart, your moviestar eyes,
your snake eyes luck, your bingo dreams, your neon
smile, your strawberry jello mouth,

in your dream In your vision In your heart

your briefcase carrying tendons
your world bank business tendencies

with cement pinnacles jutting the sky,
all this quality of life come from beings like yourself

madrone leaf eyes, sage spiced mouth
mustang sinew, your hidden mouse sex
your circling hawk sex,

in the neural system in the mind
nothing can be here
unless you empower it
it is only here as you have it in you

whatever is here is here if you allow it
whatever is here you bring or keep it
it is only here as you have it in you

* * * *

stepping over the before-dawn dead old man
on the sidewalk the wino in the alley
the spare changer on main street
whatever is here is here if you allow it.

Who thought it up, who made it?
rope rape fear hate
knives bomb gun drug kill
all this quality of life come from beings like yourself

whatever is here is here if you allow it
whatever is here you bring or keep it
it is only here as you have it in you.




May everyplace you look
stones become bread
may mangos and papayas
and pineapples
fall into your hands
may you feed the hungry
and give them flowers
May swallows fly in the winds
of your passing
may monkeys dance
in the path before you
may all people be your family
may singing of small birds
in air surround you
may poems always be in your mailbox
coming in to praise you
going out to right wrongs
Remember you have the blessing
of all women before you
combing their hair by the lake
naming all beautiful things after
remember the women
who learned to walk on fire
lit your way
the women who breathed fire
have blazed your path
the women whose fire burned
Pentecostal from forehead and brain
transformed your vision
remember your ancestress
the temple dancer
remember your ancestress
the Queen of the Euphrates
remember your ancestresses
Esther and Ruth
the mother who bore you
the woman you might have been
in another life
remember the women in chains and
with barbed wire wounds.
You are the one
whose sisters were buried alive
you are the one
whose sister drowned when
the river rose
whose sister died of famine
and drought
you are the one
who worked in the fields
of California
and slept by the roadsides
harassed in the marketplace
in a far country sent to Siberia
for speaking out,
locked up as insane
against your will
you are the woman imprisoned
in burnoose
with clitoris cut in ritual
whose husband was chosen for you
you are the woman burned
for your dowry
you are the woman whose feet
were broken and bound
who could not walk
You are the woman who
leaped over walls
who leaped into hearts
whose heart leaped forward
May others embrace and join you
May everywhere
you walk
stones become bread.

section by section

Each stanza with its own pulp and juice,
each line of slender membrane
flesh of orange filled by these elements
sun bronze and red fire. green rain,
night’s gold moon.
Each poem in its own full bloom,
ripeness, nourishment.

Understand a poem as orange,
section by section,
pungent at breakfast,
cool with ice in it, still to make the blood
rich and warm, the coursing pulsing,
which is our life, how the
poem moves through the heart
opening and shutting its valves.

And I could say you, love, are the same to me;
charging me to live,
pulsing, full bloom,
your taste, tart and sweet
on my tongue.



In the darkened plane
in the small circle of bright light on the page,
she alone it seems is awake, in her hand
the pen marks her journal.
One sudden burst of thought passing through.
Soft in tilt seats around her Serbs and
Bosnians rest at last. Taiwanese, Thai, Chinese
tourists, mixed, repose. Now content as
closed books.

In the Overhead,
souvineers: moonstones, rune stones,
gravel, a rock each from important mountains,
a few diamonds.

Someone from Marrakech, someone from Cairo
sleeps, perhaps an Afghanistan refugee.
Passengers from Africa, India,
Greece, Spain, Egypt, Peru,
in the sky,
apart from all countries,
it doesn’t matter,
they can be at peace now

higher plane


This is how she should be remembered,
going with them,
her hand, the pen moving in the circle of light,
in the plane moving over the earth.


Fireflies  in Korea

I will write about fireflies with plum juice not ink
where bamboo roots know no boundaries,
ornament the page with orchids and chrysanthemums
drawn with a fine line brush write of the light sparks in the mind
the poem that changes, line by line, word after word, mind by mind
in layers of iridescent translucent time write of poets (fireflies alter

the bearers of light, of thousands of poets walking the land
walking welcome at every door
going in and out of lives, here’s a poem for you, here’s a poem,
the heart beat poetry that changes worlds
word by word, line by line, a poem for you
of peace transformed to human form
I write as fireflies fly through mountain ranges,
reflecting stars, all day blended in sun,
travel in air that is human breath and exist forever
in sound waves in space, in water transmitting sound
,we drink in poems, we breath them.
I write barefoot in sunflower fields, the rice fields, in gleaming work

resting on curbs in the city
waiting for the buses to my day’s work
by night serenade of cicadas
knowing beauty spread
like bamboo, orchids, chrysanthemums.
The poem comes swirling through the flowers of thought,
showing safe passage from world to world in each phosphorescent flash
I write poems as fireflies, symbol of poets that illuminate dark,
the spark of light in the mind. I will write as you write
and we will meet each other out of darkness
across impassible zones,













Mary Rudge – multi-cultural world poet, author of Hungary, Austria, and other passions, Poems from Street Spirit (with Claire J. Baker) on the nation of homeless people within the USA, Ipagpatawad Ninyo Kami: Poems for the Philippines (with Amy Estrada), Water Planet (said by many to be her most significant book) plus numerous other books, embraces Sri Lanka with her poetry, personal journal, and sketch art. A tour unique, with an artist’s and poet’s perspective and a rare spiritual dimension, aflame infire-core of the heart.


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