Gary Snyder, “Cold Mountain Poem (#12)”

In my first thirty years of life
I roamed hundreds and thousands of miles.
Walked by rivers through deep green grass
Entered cities of boiling red dust.
Tried drugs, but couldn’t make Immortal;
Read books and wrote poems on history.
Today I’m back at Cold Mountain:
I’ll sleep by the creek and purify my ears.

From Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems.

Gary Snyder has been called one of the 20th century’s great nature poets, and is also noted for his connection to the Beats. Read “The Circumambulation of Mt. Tamalpais” and a slew of other poems, and here’s another good starting reference.

27 April 2004 | poetry |

Joe Wenderoth, “Like Blood from a Deep Cut”

Like soap-opera deaths, these days are not
believable, but make a week, a summer,
a few years, caught in the only plot,
quickly, muted now, repeating.
Every rough stone is smoothed, every push
of this warm river slower, colder.
This has become obvious.
What is not obvious is daytime itself
appearing in a pointed silence

like a dead relative in a good dream.
The closer that face comes
the quicker the day goes,
the louder the silence asks you to stay.
To say.
Something tells me this is my afternoon.
Something tells me this is my afternoon,
and it comes to me, like blood
from a deep cut, escaping steadily,

no matter what pressure is applied.

Unlike the other poems featured this month, this one doesn’t come from a new collection; Disfortune was published nearly a decade ago. But Wenderoth is one of the Significant Other’s favorite poets, so there you go. Other poems of his online include “At the Races” and “The Accomplishment” from Ploughshares, “Before the Dance” from Slope, and three short poems at La Petite Zine. In a 2002 interview, Wenderoth discusses his “novel” Letters to Wendy’s, which the Boston Review compared to Horace’s epistles. As he told another interviewer:

People like to read novels. If I call it a novel, people can read it and dwell in the happy expectation of character and plot and all of that. Honestly, though, I’d like to make up a genre: tragic-comic impressions. And I mean “impression” in all its senses, particularly the one, you know, meaning “imitation of someone else—imitation of a someone.”

13 April 2004 | poetry |