Having grown up in a desert place, the austerities of winter communicate states of mind to me. Back then, the bony dryness and the transparencies of cold air took me inward. My mental habits took root. Today, 60 years later, living in Portland Oregon, it is a seagull that holds my attention, and since then I’ve acquired the habits of the haiku poet.
Having reached this far
a seagull returns to the sea
under icy clouds
But a few years ago, on the opposite coast, it was a Pond and Thoreau that held my attention. The lines are prosaic, awkward, discontinuous (at least on the surface) coming into view as the gaze penetrates the world of the pond on that day. While the poems often seem forced from this distance, several years of these “pond songs” provide me now with a notebook full of the imagery of a place intensely observed but now evoking distance as well as immediacy.
November 30, 2013
Pond Song 3.76
There is an other origin beyond the origin in the self with its own inward otherness. GB 176
sea-level pond no mountain top__wind-polished light-carved waves
this wind kept me up all night__day breaks what light saves
sparrows sit low in pale grass__milky ice drapes the shore
sunglare glazes the mudflats__where shallows darken more
wind-shadows spark across__out where buffleheads dive
in summer there’s only one now__it drops from sight its absence excessive