Christ it’s no meta-
phor to feel as one’s own the
terror of children

not one’s own, it is
self-recognition, the child
burning in the street,

collateral da-
mage, the child at the border
snatched from her mother.

These thresholds of hell
are very much our doing,
made in hell by us,

made in the U.S.
by us, by us, for them, hell
made here in us, us.


If I read Auden,
it’s because I forget how
jealous I am of

him, how I can’t write
poetry for days after
that: “in solitude,

for company.” I
suspect you too experience
this. The Greeks believed

Pthonos brings ruin.
In its wake forgettable
poetry looks great.


One could write screenplays
had one a head bursting with
voices and contacts

with powers-that-be.
Too late for that now, voices
faded from lack of

recognition, friends
changed beyond recognition.

only possible
now in the cool silences
of singular love,

in themselves voices.
I have only to listen
to stories of things.


Say life is a day
thought through dialectically
to no conclusion.

Still ‘the stars come out’
to retell the myths, and trees
whisper overhead

with these stars. Away,
that is, from city lights. A-
way begins the way.


Something keeps calling
from the emptiness of loss
of wife and fortune,

very old maybe
timeless here in these parts. It
speaks only in myth,

Native Ameri-
can. “The Tree of Meaning”? Hold
on, Bringhurst, wait up.


What calls me to this
place—the Pacific North West—
of exile? I’m no

Dante or Ovid,
fellow-travelers in this
world. Not the call of

Nature, though Mt. Hood
looms white to the East in fair
or foul weather. No.

With death in view, one’s
singularity faces
the singular good.