Today is International Migratory Bird Day. It is also the 80th birthday of the poet Gary Snyder. It is also one of the many days that wildlife volunteers along the Gulf Coast will be rescuing animals from the oil spill, cleaning them, hoping for their survival. I find this an ironic conjunction of events on one day. I hope for Snyder some good years yet to come. As of 2007, he was still writing. This event in the Gulf must be a huge heartache for him, lover of the wild that he is. He was an early influence on my own writing, I found in him a very kindred spirit. To honor his birthday I took my ancient copy of Riprap, & Cold Mountain Poems off the shelf and read through it. This 1956 poem from Riprap is another bit of conjunction to the day. I hope you are well, Gary Snyder.
Migration of Birds
It started just now with a hummingbird
Hovering over the porch two yards away
It stopped me studying.
I saw the redwood post
Leaning in clod ground
Tangled in a bush of yellow flowers
Higher than my head, through which we push
Every time we come inside -
The shadow network of the sunshine
Through its vines. White crowned sparrows
Make tremendous singings in the trees
The rooster down the valley crows and crows.
Jack Kerouac outside, behind my back
Reads the Diamond Sutra in the sun.
Yesterday I read Migration of Birds;
The Golden Plover and the Arctic Tern.
Today that big abstraction's at our door
For juncoes and the robins all have left,
Broody scrabblers pick up bits of string
And in this hazy day
Of April summer heat
Across the hill the seabirds
Chase Spring north along the coast:
Nesting in Alaska
In six weeks.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
All night the canyon winds have slammed the house, loud noises keeping us awake and anxious. This morning gravel paths are strewn with rose petals, hollyhock leaves, small limbs of cottonwood. Front porch pots knocked over, lying on their sides, their leaves like tangled hair.
Big orange cat
Crouched under the feeders
Waits for hummingbird brunch
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Letting Them Go
I have held this hornet swarm of anger
Within my heart too long,
The venom, buzz and sting
All painful things
But real enough
To fill the place deserted
To fill the place deserted
By the soft round bees of love.
Purpose of bees in flowers,
Presence of honey,
Sound of bees in the sun,
Gone from a hive left empty.
Rotted into something
Unbearable to touch, to hold.
A place where angry hornets
Were welcome to move in,
Take space, make noise,
Pour poison through my empty veins.
This could be a way to live.
Yet, in early morning dampness
Comes a vision of release.
I could let them go.
Cup them in the hollow of my hands
Stinging for the last time.
Open hive and heart,
Let them rise into the trees,
Watching as they go.
Clean out the hive,
Stay empty, live bereft,
Wait to see what next moves in.