We found remains
not of the day or night
not of the moon or sun
but of something more
primal and of the earth
and soil carrying its voice
from pastures to fields
to the winter beds.
The remains we found of
the open space
the land born of themselves.
Searching snow covered grounds
a rake is used like a ship
dredging a canal, but
at the surface, gentle
tugs, attention paid to
the amount of resistance,
the emitted sound when metal
hits a rock, dried wood,
or what I am looking for.
When a brownish blur
catches my eye through cattails
I know I am done.
It’s time to return
you to earth.
2x4s laid in the snow
covered dirt road, away
from low hanging pine limbs
and prairie grasses.
I place your rib cage upon
the altar, sprinkle gasoline
and say a few words
before throwing the match.
This evening is a rare event for me – a public reading of some of my own poetry. This is only the second I have ever done a reading and is a bit longer than the first one. For this, I have the painstaking task of choosing three poems.
As a thunderstorm approaches from the west, I listen to various bird calls such as the robin and oriole. As more lightning flashes across rooftops, and the thunder becomes more immediate, their calls quiet. Soon, the soundscape is replaced by heavy raindrops blanketing streets, patios, and window screens with water. Further plunged into the storm, we relish the sweet moisture and this gift from nature.
Summer is finally here in MN and with that are thunderstorms. Thankfully, nothing severe, for now, but a gullywasher as older meteorologists used to say on the TV.
I’ve been organizing my summer reading list and hope some of this makes a dent in the writing funk I have been getting too comfortable and cozy with.
I recently started reading “The Wolf’s Tooth: Keystone Predators, Trophic Cascade, and Biodiversity” by Cristina Eisenberg. As I get further into this interesting read, I will post more thoughts here.
1. Mount Rainier: A Climbing Guide
2. The Boardman Tasker Omnibus
3. Cultivating the Empty Fields
4. Airmail: The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Transtromer
Received a great package from Amazon today. The latest collection of poems from D. Nurkse, “A Night in Brooklyn”, and “Airmail”, the letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Transtromer.
Mr. Nurkse was part my shift to a more concise and efficient writing style, that also assists tremendously in the editing process. I have read six of his previous collections, and will finally complete a book review with this one.
Mr. Bly’s influence on poetry, literature, and culture cannot be summed up in a few of my words, and is best left to his.
I’ve spent most of the weekend reading a book titled “Sky Above, Great Wind”, the life and poetry of Zen Master Ryokan. Out of the zen masters I have read, I am finding his teaching to be uncluttered, using only the words that are needed to show the path. His poetry is sparse, honest, self-depracating, and beautiful in its approach and imagery.
This started a thought about the purpose of poetry and what works in a poem. I think what is said and what is not said, are equally important in a poem. Saying too much imbues the authors viewpoint on the reader, and leads them. A poem should provide an idea or an image, and let each reader find their path, find their meaning. A poem should be timeless and at the same time placeless, this allowing a poem to be enjoyed and understood regardless of where and when someone reads its words.
Zen Master Ryokan teaches zen, Buddhism, and what is a poem with these simple words:
You see the moon by pointing your finger.
You recognize the finger by the moon.
The moon and the finger
are not different, not the same.
In order to guide a beginner,
this analogy is temporarily used.
When you have realized this,
there is no moon, no finger.