Poetry on a Friday Morning

I have always loved poetry. Classical, romantic, formal, rhyming or not,  it doesn’t matter to me. I think I love poetry because it is not just about telling a story (particularly more modern poems), though I love stories as well. To me, poetry is all about the love of words, the beauty of the sounds they make, how they make us feel or see things, all stripped down to the core by the brevity and limitations of the genre. It is saying and not saying and not saying and thus saying more than one could have if one just laid it all out there. They are little moments and thoughts. They are the repositories and holders of words that we don’t use in our day to day language but are so precise and beautiful and strange I would hate to lose them, have them drift away, dead because of forgetfulness and our society’s desire for efficient communication rather than lengthier, lovelier speaking. Poems are game preserves for these words. A place where we can go on a safari for the exotic words, the words that remind you of the wonder of the world and the joy of new discovery.

In honor of that desire, to keep poetry and the fantastical words they contain in existence in this world I think I will try to include poems that I am fond of, or have found recently in my wanderings here to share with you. I hope you enjoy them.

Night Song of the Los Angeles Basin

By Gary Snyder

                                   Owl

calls,

pollen dust blows

Swirl of light strokes writhing

knot-tying light paths,

 

calligraphy of cars.

 

Los Angeles basin and hill slopes

Checkered with streetways. Floral loops

Of the freeway express and exchange.

 

Dragons of light in the dark

sweep going both ways

in the night city belly.

The passage of light end to end and rebound,

—ride drivers all heading somewhere—

etch in their traces to night’s eye-mind

 

calligraphy of cars.

 

Vole paths. Mouse trails worn in

On meadow grass;

Winding pocket-gopher tunnels,

Marmot lookout rocks.

Houses with green watered gardens

Slip under the ghost of the dry chaparral,

 

Ghost

shrine to the L. A. River

The jinja that never was there

is there.

Where the river debouches

the place of the moment

of trembling and gathering and giving

so that lizards clap hands there

—just lizards

come pray, saying

“please give us health and long life.”

 

A hawk,

a mouse.

 

Slash of calligraphy of freeways of cars.

 

Into the pools of the channelized river

the Goddess in tall rain dress

tosses a handful of meal.

 

Gold bellies roil

mouth-bubbles, frenzy of feeding,

the common ones, the bright-colored rare ones

show up, they tangle and tumble,

godlings ride by in Rolls Royce

wide-eyed in brokers’ halls

lifted in hotels

being presented to, platters

of tidbit and wine,

snatch of fame,

 

churn and roil,

 

meal gone   the water subsides.

 

A mouse,

a hawk.

 

The calligraphy of lights on the night

freeways of Los Angeles

 

will long be remembered.

 

Owl

calls;

late-rising moon.

 

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