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Please read the writings and view the images from the wonderful artists who trust us with their work.
Across the see littered
with fragments I am
but a whisper cast from
I hope with every last
shred of this being
that you are out there
waiting with patience
for my return from one
field and when I land
in the black waters I am
able to swim now free of myself.
A Winter Light, by John Haines
We still go about our lives
in shadow, pouring the white cup full
with a hand half in darkness.
Paring potatoes, our heads
vent over a dream—
glazed window through which
the long, yellow sundown looks.
By candle or firelight
your face still holds
a mystery that once
filled caves with the color
of unforgettable beasts.
Photo below shared from Alaska Dispatch News which features a piece about writer/musician John Luther Adams and being influenced by John Haines.
From TWENTY POEMS, Unicorn Press, 1973
As I watch the April sunrise across
the turbulent waters I am reminded again
of my place beneath cedar and pine
while sitting on the rocks with two puppies.
To Jackson Pollock
Last night somebody murdered a young tree on Seventh Avenue
between 18th and 19th—only two in that block,
and just days ago we’d taken refreshment in the crisp and particular shade
of that young ginkgo’s tight leaves, its beauty and optimism,
though I didn’t think of that word until the snapped trunk this morning,
a broken broomstick discarded, and tell me what pleasure
could you take from that? Maybe I understand it,
the sudden surge of rage and the requirement of a gesture,
but this hour I place myself firmly on the side of thirst,
the sapling’s ambition to draw from the secret streams
beneath this city, to lift up our subterranean waters.
Power in a pointless scrawl now on the pavement.
Pollock, when he swung his wild arcs in the barn-air
by Accabonac, stripped away incident and detail till all
that was left was swing and fall and return,
austere rhythm deep down things, beautiful
because he’s subtracted the specific stub and pith,
this wreck on the too-hot pavement where scavengers
spread their secondhand books in the scalding sunlight.
Or maybe he didn’t. Erase it I mean: look into the fierce ellipse
of his preserved gesture, and hasn’t he swept up every bit,
all the busted and incomplete, half-finished and lost?
Alone in the grand rooms of last century’s heroic painters
—granted entrance, on an off day, to a museum
with nobody, thank you, this once nobody talking—
and for the first time I understood his huge canvases
were prayers. No matter to what. And silent as hell;
he rode the huge engine of his attention toward silence,
and silence emanated from them, and they would not take no
for an answer, though there is no other. Forget supplication,
beseechment, praise. Look down
into it, the smash-up swirl, oil and pigment and tree-shatter:
tumult in equilibrium.
40 Days become 40 years
and the revolution/transformation
I began culminates from the
Into the valley life flows
as the new sun rises
over the range.
Caribou continue their
thousand mile trek across
vast swaths of land
following their ancestors hoofs.
I teeter on this ridge and see
beyond the glacier fed waters
and the crystal sky and fall
into the ancient land where
the marathon first began,
where the fields were first built.
Sun rises over mountain peaks
after 40 days of darkness
We sing, dance, and cry
while the mountains darkness
subsides and the peak, birthplace
of our gods, appears.
“Return” by Jim Harrison
The sun’s warm against slats of the granary,
a puddle of ice in the shadow of the steps;
my uncle’s hound
across the winter wheat,
fresh green cold green.
The windmill long out of use, screeches
and twists in the wind.
Spring day, too loud for talk,
when bones tire of their flesh
and want something better.
National Poetry Month is upon us. We will be posting selections from writers that we have been influenced by over the years, including John Haines of course. If anyone has suggested writers and personal favorites please share here as I would love to expand my library and keep poetry alive and relevant.
This reader suggested poem is “Fog” by Carl Sandburg.
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Poem shared from the following resources.
In the aftermath
we become introspective
and concerned with immediacy,
the ones most near, and once
settled, we look up beyond
our fate here and hope for hope.