Mary Ruefle

Hellebore | The Way of Books
August 9, 2014 Ruefle Mary



Lord, I am all

stretched out to quality,

but I fear I wear

a ring of hellebore

on my brow, as I am

a daughterish son

and my torment is that

I fed the flowers

to a circle of friends

not knowing their sudden

life-changing effect—

so a boy poisons his dog

and Hamlet his mother

and all beings

of whatever kind

afterwards walk trampled

as if crushing with

their own bare hands

(things are not familiar!

things are not familiar!)

the love they were

saving for a more

opportune moment

such as this




The Way of Books


My chickens call to my chickens


Your chickens call to my chickens


We grow old and die,


with never a need for a visit

Mary Ruefle is an American poet, essayist, and professor. She has published eleven collections of poetry, most recently, My Private Property.