Words from a rugged master

Words from a rugged master

Words from a rugged master

Tonight I felt like sharing three of my favourite Jim Harrison poems.  He was able to capture incredible beauty and inspire a deep love of the natural world in a way that was simple, pure and raw.  I love the powerful combination of grit and tenderness in his words.   Enjoy. Seven in the Woods Am I as old as I am?Maybe not. Time is a mysterythat can tip us upside down.Yesterday I was seven in the woods,a bandage covering my blind eye,in a bedroll Mother made meso I could sleep out in the woodsfar from people. A garter snake

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The mountains have long stood

The mountains have long stood

The mountains have long stood and guarded the plains, while a thousand summer evenings have sighed and slept.   They have seen children created and homesteads blown away by western winds that through the valleys have swept.   They judge not but they keep their faces to the light and in the evening they tenderly cradle the stars.   Young cattle grow restless in the heat of the night and flushed couples tumble out of crowded bars.   I wonder about the secrets of yours that they hold as you lay down amid the debris of another day’s labour.  

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A simple longing

A simple longing

​Here in the clamorous night my fingers upon your mouth the summer birds seek shores  untouched by rain, silver and silent in their flight. And I can think of no greater joy beneath these wild oyster stars than to fall asleep in the cold grass and be licked awake by daylight.

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The mouths of the stars

The mouths of the stars

It’s burning and it’s brittle, this strange and little thing of ours; Sometimes I see the wings of the sun, then the gaping mouths of the stars, And can I help it, if I can’t stop dreaming of you? I wish you would lay down beside me, in the weightless cradle of the night, and speak only to accent the silence that shivers between wrong and right, But the moment you arrive, you have long begun to depart; The earth hides his face while the moon bares her heart. I don’t want to hurt you. I never mean to cause

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These feelings

These feelings

In the softest shades of the night He spoke to me, Of chasing lions from the mountains To the level of the sea, Of curious, frozen fingers Upon aged sycamore trees, Of the feelings he has, But cannot give freely. It has long seemed a wonder to me, How words sputter forth Clouded mysteries, How these fragments of passion Pierce our vitality, Syllables shelled and cracked By the mouths of gluttony. It does little good to wish, I know, as the river runs to the sea In its own good time; but for me, Darkness swims beneath This lush valley

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We are all naked

We are all naked

O sun despairing Bound to serve Soften the soil Our last preserve Victory grows not From bloodied dirt But the bones of children Are tipped into the earth Shall they return now To their sleeping valleys To their winter skies And mountains untamed? We tell their stories Neglect their names And farm the fields In which they were slain Scottish songs of divine birth Dark December, Christmas mirth We pursue fleeting comforts To contain nameless hurt Silence the screams Of soldiers buried In the earth The ground beneath us Rises to meet the sky Faceless god God on high Stillness

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The distance

The distance

It is a blow to realise, as a lover of words, that talk can only accomplish so much. Were I to touch the infinite crevices between the stars and leap the dream-deep spaces between waking and childless sleep, I would be no closer to clarity. I could wade the swollen river while gnats frenzy the air and the moon makes the earth dizzy with his deceiving proximity, and I would have gained no ground. You could be right here now, in the doorway, jeans and open pores, weather and silence, a moment the depth of a year, and still I

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On parting

On parting

This comes with gratitude since, for a brief while, you saw something within me that resonated within you. And isn’t that life, entirely?

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Time

Time

Time fills up like a water balloon or a swollen summer moon then slips between the cracks in the hours, leaving nothing and owing the same. O, tarry never. Never again.

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We deal in fragments

We deal in fragments

We deal in fragments because we have little else. Some are beautiful, shining, concentrated; some are ever more striking than the imperfect whole. But precious fragments, delicate and unique, are fractured from her being every day. Broken off and discarded without her consent. We try to catch them desperately but they fall much faster than we can see, and land farther than we can reach.

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