Ellen Pober Rittberg

Remembering Max Wheat, Nature Walk 
by Ellen Pober Rittberg

sparrow   robin  all song 
red-winged blackbird rash percussive
a street band
ring necked pleasant tail long  string of
a wind up toy: floating  milkweed

I like the Russian olive tree
its leaves open penetrating my nostrils
combining with my lungs 
but I like it closed 
each pendulous bud a promise

tree swallow overhead close enough to touch
“a flicker of sardine light,” I say
“that’s a poet thinking, Max says
“write it down,” he commands and I do
as I spy a wagon rut a century old 

see pocked white stones shards of ancient columns
pet last year’s grass now etiolated soft as puppy’s fur
I must go must resolve to walk again where Whitman walked on this last remaining prairie east of the Mississippi. Adieu!

 

Forest : Waldeinsamkeit
by Ellen Pober Rittberg

Carolina wren I beg you 
Show yourself
Your liquid pure sound
From highest arch
Has song ever been this clear 
This sound discernment
Not like the mockingbird
Tail high, prone to pronouncement 
Why imitate at all when your repertoire 
Is so varied, piano player in large hotel. 

There's a special place in my heart 
For fungus spectral white or buttercup yellow 
scalloped capped or cupped
And clouds that hover devoid of omen
And rocks ragged jagged
Some composite 
Once pyroclastic
Waldeinsamkeit 
My natural juice 
My equipoise

Song of the City                     
by Ellen Pober Rittberg

Awash in ginkgo leaves on street
Fans discarded others brittle curled turning in 
human life at terminus and knowing it:
receding
I photograph my shoe perpetual motion 
Man as whirligig but smooth, man the purveyor 
I buy life I sell it 
To myself mostly
sunrise's umbilicus obscured by objects urban
seen as nectarine band splayed across horizon 
Uncooked omelette
I perceive them all:
doorways sidewalk art
One says 'protect yo heart' and I do. 
I gird it   unburthen it rarely and to few
Oh, the solitary life is a lovely life
is a lonely life is a riff on melody 
A roundelay of song 
And ah and so
I sing it lustily long.

 

The following poem was chosen for the anthology, "Songs of Seasoned Women," Quadrasoul Press, 2007:

CONSIDER THE CONSTELLATIONS

consider the constellations
huntress' bow, chariots churning
hurtling burning, spinning, lost.
like cities undersea
stars spill across the sky.

through winter sun the world blazes
in tough brilliance.
blossoms hold tight to themselves
like baby's fists,
a despot might call it insolence.

I must remember to praise sunrise
must look inside the commotion
the jumble, the jigsaw the jewelweed
to stumble to trod on, to live to love
the leaf, my face, the sun.

ah world, perfectly formed oak gall,
prickly, obdurate world, infinite in brown
at dawn as it settles like a comeliness,
a shawl, oh knotted skein,
oh clotted world convergent world: us, all!

Writing Bio:

Ellen Pober Rittberg’s poetry and fiction have been published in numerous online journals including Brooklyn Quarterly, Long Island Quarterly, Santa Fe Writers Project, and several anthologies including Persian Sugar in English Tea vol. 1 and Songs of Seasoned Women. Her book of poetry, Consider the Constellations, was published in 2009. The winner of several journalism awards, she also wrote several plays, which were performed off off Broadway and at festivals.

Links to my writing:

www.snreview.org

www.poetrybay.com/liquarterly

www.slowtrains.com

Short story: Boychick

www.sfwp.org

Short story: allie's boy

www.slowtrains.com/vol7issue2