April Diary 7: wolfish

This entry is part 7 of 31 in the series April Diary


Dear April your daffodils are as late as I’ve ever seen them

their yellow buds ease open like swimmers dipping a toe into the cold and the wet

I’m sitting on the ridgetop and as i wrote that last line two deer came up behind me caught my scent and bolted, bounding down the steep, rocky slope toward I-99

Dear April today is a moss and lichen day, the tree trunks dark with rain under heavy skies and the gray-green sleeves of their upper limbs

It’s almost axiomatic i think that any place where you have a close encounter with a charismatic creature becomes forever marked by your memory of its presence. approaching this stone seat where i had a brief staring contest with a coyote a month ago, i noticed a somewhat wolfish piece of old lichen-encrusted pine

earlier, standing in the kitchen i’d started humming that song “the bare necessities” from Disney’s original animation of the jungle book and a few lines of a new bear poem came to me:

as for the bare necessities
Balu I am still looking

I have been unbearable
to some but like you

I am a sluggard
I go to the fancy ants

my tongue works far
harder than my teeth

yeah I thought i’d just throw in a fun little riff on a Bible quote there because I have an imaginary audience of fellow KJV nerds. oh hell yeah

Dear April I read one poem in the course of half an hour sitting in the woods. is that good or bad? Charon’s Cosmology still

there aren’t too many poets so brilliant that a practiced reader can’t anticipate where a poem is going from one line to the next but Simic is one of them

there are natural landscapes like that, so full of surprise that even a practiced hiker can’t imagine what’s around the next bend. we call such places old growth if they’re forest

if we truly pay attention they confound every effort at an easy narrative

there’s nowhere i’m really going with this thought but feel free to expand upon it at your leisure

but there is a terrifying arbitrariness to our choice of narratives isn’t there

what does this mean in the age of the novel and the TV script that it might not have meant in the age of the ballad and the epic, i wonder. in slower times people might’ve had more time to think their own thoughts but history suggests that many if not most of those thoughts, especially where war was concerned, were utter dogshit

in a time of war we are reminded of the immense destructive power of official narratives, our propaganda more insidious than Russia’s because, at least in its liberal version, so few members of the professional/managerial class even recognize it as propaganda

and so we are being memed and emoted into a war that could end nearly all life on earth

Dear April there was a raccoon on my Mom’s back porch late this afternoon when i got back from my walk and at first we were excited because, you know, not really all that many raccoons up here

but then we noticed how skinny and how scroungy her fur and she seemed to have a limp no wait she’s staggering oh hell poor thing must be rabid

and our neighbor came over with a shotgun because all i have are rifles and a shotgun is the right tool for this grim but necessary job but the raccoon had disappeared probably under my house

Dear April i won’t lie: seeing that raccoon stagger felt like a haiku moment

poets are monsters

I don’t want to end on such a dark note so let me instead leave you with a haiku by a living master of the art, John Stevenson

this is from his 2004 collection with Red Moon Press quiet enough (one of the two books that came yesterday from bookshop.org)

leaves budding
a little girl
spinning in her dress

John Stephenson

such a pure, perfect, timeless moment. with that is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-metaphor frisson I get so often with Buson

Series Navigation← April Diary 6: freedom, haiku, and Roscoe HolcombApril Diary 9: sapsuckers, beginner’s mind, and Phoebe Giannisi →

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