from the first edition --
These poems are made from the poet's youth on a farm, as a merchant seaman, as a political radical, as a hospital orderly,as a wanderer in search of the American conscience, and as a father. The book is various and strong, the utterances of flesh and bone-a highly moving experience. Eugene Ruggles has worked long and hard with words, and he has achieved what every poet seeks, his own poetic voice.
The Lifeguard in the Snow
"It seems the snow is falling deeper than God
as I walk through it along our end of the ice,
it drifts between my legs like it was breathing.
The sweat hits in my back as I start to climb
the first white dunes that save the trees from ice,
I open my coat and hear snow inhaling the lake.
There is the raft I couldn't reach it's still there
frozen in ice like the last scream in a mouth.
Watching those young children all last summer
has folded this black sunburn through my chest--
a small girl water carved out of my arms forever."