Featured Poetry

Leslie Ryan – Taking Refuge

An appropriate poem for these cold dark winter days, Leslie Ryan has written lines frozen with ferocious and gorgeous imagery and sparseness–like a rime-coated mountain. But this poem isn’t without a warm little jewel in its heart. Reminiscent of Gary Snyder’s poetry, Taking Refuge looks outwardly, but it is also an inward-looking poem.

Taking Refuge

Black dark in all directions
chill of the hand of death

bare head
north wind
body on shorn stone

all my body’s heat
this night will drink
in one small sip

no, it will eat
a thousand thousand thousand
heats of lives
and not be raised by one degree

wind clears the last breath
from sharp-edged continents

dark blue oceans
stand upright and are stripped
to white

lump on the mountainside
ice-stone of my flesh

worn by a force without concern
for any living thing.

Yes, little fire coal,
dear one
here in my care,
my claret cloth folds
in and inward,
more and more gently,
to you.

Fire coal. Fire coal.
Fire coal. Fire coal.

Over us, pushed across stones
by a still-colder force, wind

goes on alone
frozen without weight…

without anyone inside it at all,
it refreshes the stars.

Leslie Ryan

Leslie Ryan believes her internet presence may be limited to an article entitled “the mysterious Leslie Ryan “by Kati Standefer. She holds an MS in environmental studies from the University of Montana, and in 2001 was awarded a Rona Jaffe Award.

2 thoughts on “Leslie Ryan – Taking Refuge”

  1. I am so thrilled to find one of my literary heros published here- and so grateful to have the layers of this phenomenal piece continuing to unfold well after the last line ends…thank you.

  2. What a fantastic poem, bringing us to confront death in all the life it brings to each moment of our humanity in this grand natural world

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