I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_Schwartz-Ruth1Ruth L. Schwartz (born 1962) is an American poet.

Her most recent poetry collection is Dear Good Naked Morning (Autumn House Press, 2005). She graduated from Wesleyan University, with a B.A., from the University of Michigan, with an M.F.A., from the University of Integrative Learning with a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology. The San Francisco Bay Area has been Ruth’s chosen home since 1985; she has also traveled extensively in Latin America, and speaks fluent Spanish.


Ruth L. Schwartz

This is what life does, as an act of great
though often misunderstood kindness—it brings us
over and over again to the same sorrows.
For instance, the same emergency room
where I crouch the gurney on which lies
someone I love whose face is dulled by pain. And life
says, Here you are again, and gently
pulls the outer leaves away,
like I do with the woolly plants called lamb’s ear,
the thickest, softest gray-green petals I can find,
so I can touch the dew held at the hidden center.
Or I could be the one on the gurney; it doesn’t matter.
Of course the dew at the center is love,
though it is also grief.
Of course it is only by touching it, not just with a finger
but with the entire self, exhausted, despairing, and willing,
that we can know they are the same thing,
ceaselessly making and remaking us
in every form that life would have us take,
so it can know itself through us, so we can know
a single thing—just one.


Ruth L. Schwartz

Fuck me, oh God, with ordinary things
the things you love best in the world—

like trees in spring, exposing themselves,
flashing leaf buds so firm and swollen

I want to take them in my mouth.
Speaking of trees, fuck me with birds

say, an enormous raucous crow,
proud as a man with his hands down his pants,

and then a sparrow, intimately brown,
discreet and cautious as a concubine.

Fuck me with my kitchen faucet, dripping
like a nymphomaniac,

all night slowly filling and filling,
then overflowing the bowls in the sink-

and with the downstairs neighbour’s vacuum,
that great sucking noisy dragon

making the dirty come clean.
Fuck me with breakfast, with English muffins

the spirit of the dough aroused
by browning, thrilled by buttering.

Fuck me with orange juice,
its concentrated sweetness,
which makes the mouth as happy as summer,
leaves sweet flecks of foam like spit

along the inside of the glass.
Fuck me with coffee, strong and hot,

and then with cream poured into coffee,
blossoming like mushroom clouds,

opening like parachutes.
Fuck me with the ticking

clock, which is the ticking
bomb, which is the ticking heart –

the heart we heard in the first months,
in the original nakedness,

before we were squalling and born.
Fuck me with the unwashed spoon

proud with its coffee stain –
the faint swirl of a useful life

pooled into its center, round as a world.