Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts

July 22, 2019

Who Says There Is No Gain in Reading?

I was reading The Raw and the Cooked, a book of food-related essays by Jim Harrison that appeared mostly in Esquire magazine in the 1980s and 1990s, when a partly full packet of 34¢ postage stamps fell out. That price dates them to 2001, the year of publication.

Who says there is no gain in reading?

It was a used copy bought in Taos last June, and it had been sitting in the bedside pile atop the dog crate.

When Harrison died in 2007, several of my friends and I all independently turned to one of his poems, "Barking."
The moon comes up.
The moon goes down.
This is to inform you
that I didn't die young.
Age swept past me
but I caught up.
Spring has begun here and each day
brings new birds up from Mexico.
Yesterday I got a call from the outside
world but I said no in thunder.
I was a dog on a short chain
and now there's no chain.
I should go thaw some venison, make some chimichurri sauce or at least a cheese sandwich, stop staring at those words.

April 23, 2014

Git Yer Baxter On

It's National Cowboy Poetry Week.

Related: a review of Poems That Make Grown Men Cry. As a predominately British collection, it probably omits Robinson Jeffers' "The House Dog's Grave."

September 15, 2013

"You mean there's a senator for all this?"

View looking NE into the Cascade Mtns. from Mount Rainier National Park.
Said by the very urban poet Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997), whom the not-so-urban poet Gary Snyder in the 1950s coaxed  into working one season as a fire lookout in the Cascades.

The incident is found on p. 31 of Snyder's book The Practice of the Wild, which is on my hypothetical desert-island book list.

And that whole brief era is described in detail in John Suiter's Poets on the Peaks.

It was probably the same summer that the two of them encountered a party of anglers on a forest trail and Ginsberg intoned, "WE are forest beatniks." A line that I will never have the opportunity to use.

May 13, 2012

April 03, 2012

The Droughte of March Hath Perced . . .

Snow caps the bird feeders.
. . . to the roote? Maybe not, but a good start, Ich wis.

And þe snow is yet ycumen down.

So how did Geoffrey Chaucer come to understand our weather?

January 13, 2012

The Gun, by Vicki Feaver

Vicki Feaver (b. 1943) is a British poet. According to her listing in the Poetry Archive, "Feaver includes the stuff of everyday life in her poems - jam-making, gym classes, ironing - but grafts them onto the transgressive power of fairy-tale and myth."

Author's note: I lived in Brixton in central London for twenty years and though I sometimes heard gunshots I never actually saw a gun. But now living in Lanarkshire, Scotland, right in the middle of the country, I see lots of guns. Almost all the men seem to have a shotgun. And then my own husband got a shotgun and brought it into the house, and at first I felt very afraid of it and then gradually my whole attitude changed as I describe in this poem.
The Gun

Bringing a gun into a house
changes it.

You lay it on the kitchen table,
stretched out like something dead
itself: the grainy polished wood stock
jutting over the edge,
the long metal barrel
casting a grey shadow
on the green-checked cloth.

At first it's just practice:
perforating tins
dangling on orange string
from trees in the garden.
Then a rabbit shot
clean through the head.

Soon the fridge fills with creatures
that have run and flown.
Your hands reek of gun oil
and entrails. You trample
fur and feathers. There's a spring
in your step; your eyes glean
like when sex was fresh.

A gun brings a house alive.

I join in the cooking: jointing
and slicing, stirring and tasting—
excited as if the King of Death
had arrived to feast, stalking
out of winter woods,
his black mouth
sprouting golden crocuses.

from The Book of Blood (Jonathan Cape, 2006).
Listen to her read the poem.

January 08, 2008

"Untracked"

by Mike Adams

I ski now, untracked,
into the falling snow
that falls into the trough
of hard snow left
by yesterday's travelers,
so that the going,
through the snow-bowed
pines, is easy yet new,
my skis buried, only
the tips, pushing
tiny bow waves, visible
and making the smallest
of sounds, a faint
hissing in the full silence
of the forest.

My breathing, the fixed
flowing rhythm of arms and legs,
the still woods--

The world with all
of its burdens falls away.
I think of my 57 years,
the mountains I have climbed,
nights under the wheeling stars.
All of the women I have loved
and the one I love now,
with all the fullness of my years.

And I think too, of companions gone--
men and women--carried out
of my life by death or the strong
currents of life,

And the falling untracked snow
and what lies at the heart of it all.

I read this poem in the new Mountain Gazette right after spending yesterday afternoon x-c skiing with M. near Salida. It went right through me (even though I'm not yet 57).

It's like Frost's famous snowy woods. That poem was no big deal when I was young. Now it scares the bejabbers out of me.