by Theodore Roethke In a dark time, the eye begins to see, I meet my shadow in the deepening shade; I hear my echo in the echoing wood— A lord of nature weeping to a tree. I live between the heron and the wren, Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den. What’s madness but nobility of soul At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire! I know the purity of pure despair, My shadow pinned against a sweating wall. That place among the rocks—is it a cave, Or winding path? The edge is what I have. A steady storm of correspondences! A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon, And in broad day the midnight come again! A man goes far to find out what he is— Death of the self in a long, tearless night, All natural shapes blazing unnatural light. Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire. My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly, Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I? A fallen man, I climb out of my fear. The mind enters itself, and God

In Memory of Leonard Cohen

I saw you this morning. You were moving so fast. Can’t seem to loosen my grip On the past. And I miss you so much. There’s no one in sight. And we’re still making love In my secret life. Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016)

In defense of really bad poetry

I once knew a girl whose father was filthy rich. He built row upon row of tacky boxes  that mar the views on the outskirts of San Francisco, a wilderness that chokes out coffee houses and bars and brothels, all the places where freedom and language get down. He passed his declining years trying to rhyme 2 x 4, pencil and Uncle Sam, verse that would make Ogden Nash blush. Once she asked me and some friends to her hot tub. We all had big dicks that she tried to rhyme with fun. We were naked and she wore a bathing suit. I was thankful her father had trained her well in the art of really bad poetry. Ken Ireland

I saw myself

I saw myself a ring of bone in the clear stream of all of it and vowed, always to be open to it that all of it might flow through and then heard “ring of bone” where ring is what a bell do BY  LEW WELCH Lew Welch, “[I Saw Myself]” from  Ring of Bone: Collected Poems of Lew Welch .  Copyright © 2012 by Lew Welch. Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books. Source:  Ring of Bone: Collected Poems of Lew Welch  (City Lights Books, 2012)

A New Year’s Blessing

by Larry Robinson Unhurried mornings, greeted with gratitude; good work for the hand, the heart and the mind; the smile of a friend, the laughter of children; kind words from a neighbor, a home dry and warm. Food on the table, with a place for the stranger; a glimpse of the mystery behind every breath; some time of ease in the arms of your lover; then sleep with a prayer of thanks on your lips; May all this and more be yours this year and every year after to the end of your days.

All the Little Hoof-Prints

by Robinson Jeffers Farther up the gorge the sea’s voice fainted and ceased. We heard a new noise far away ahead of us, vague and metallic, it might have been some unpleasant bird’s voice Bedded in a matrix of long silences. At length we came to a little cabin lost in the redwoods, An old man sat on a bench before the doorway filing a cross-cut saw; sometimes he slept, Sometimes he filed. Two or three horses in the corral by the streamside lifted their heads To watch us pass, but the old man did not. In the afternoon we returned the same way, And had the picture in our minds of magnificent regions of space and mountain not seen before. (This was The first time that we visited Pigeon Gap, whence you look down behind the great shouldering pyramid- Edges of Pico Blanco through eagle-gulfs of air to a forest basin Where two-hundred-foot redwoods look like the pile on a Turkish carpet.) With such extensions of the idol- Worshipping mind we came down the streamside. The old man was

the active, realistic loving of this one moment in all time.

from  NO MORE SECONDHAND GOD by R. Buckminster Fuller Late tonight (April 9, 1940) I am just sitting here for one of the many reasons people find themselves passionately isolated. (The cause is rarely noble.) In the midst of my overly self-emphatic thought I say, suddenly, (as most of us do): imagine, realize, the preposterousness of your chagrin in the face of what is involved in the newspaper headline on the chair over there. OSLO KEY BASES TAKEN BIG SEA AIR BATTLES ON World Telegram 7 th  Sports. It’s no longer a phony war but I don’t think about that nor do I think much about Oslo. I think of such of aviators and sailormen as are in command of their faculties on both sides at this moment. Though you have been out in a froth-spitting squall on Long Island Sound or in an ocean liner on a burgeoning sea you have but a childlike hint of what a nineteen-year-old’s reaction is to the pitch black shrieking dark out the