Poem of the Forgotten
I came to this place
a young man green and lonely.
Well quit of the world,
I framed a house of moss and timber,
called it a home,
and sat in the warm evenings
singing to myself as a man sings
when he knows there is
no one to hear.
I made my bed under the shadow
of leaves, and awoke
in the first snow of autumn,
filled with silence.
–By John Haines
John Haines homesteaded in Alaska for many years, beginning in 1947. He passed away in 2011. “Poem of the Forgotten” appeared in his book, News from the Glacier: Selected Poems 1960-1980.
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There’s always an injury
when we compare one thing
to something else, the tepid moon
to its jealous sister, the viscous fog
to seven years of silence.
And any word can be a knife
when thrown with care.
We sacrifice our hearts
for the quietness of books.
A loaf of bread cooling on the counter
is a wild act of love.
Even as I dislodge every spider web
in the cabin, we will still find
something caught and dying
in the morning,
eyes glistening like dew
in the back of the fireplace
where newspapers and forests
–By Grant Clauser
In 2010 Robert Bly chose Grant Clauser as the Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate. “Cabin” is from his terrific first book, The Trouble with Rivers.
* * *
Moving Into My Cabin
Hung a Cherokee bear mask by the door.
Loaded the pencil holder with wild turkey feathers.
Gathered an armload of dead branches
for the kindling box. Picked asters and goldenrod
for the old pickling jar on the table.
Decorated the windowsill with birch bark
and bird nests, a littered shotgun shell
for a humorous touch. Swept mouse droppings
off the shelves. Shook dust from the fireplace rug.
Noticed again the smell of the cabin:
thirty-year-old logs varnished whiskey brown,
charred chimney stones, wool blankets
passed from owner to owner.
Brewed pine needle tea. Wiped owl pellets
from the porch bench. Transcribed in my journal
the song of the stream. Listened to the red-eyed vireo
owning his treetop till sunset. Lingered
over sauteed mushrooms and stew.
Studied moths on the windows,
dozens, hundreds, fluttering, crawling,
staring with eyes tinier than crumbs, yet gold,
gold as fire. Stepped outside to join moths
at the windows, my first friends.
–By Will Nixon
Sometimes I miss those days in the old log cabin on the Panther Kill. “Moving Into My Cabin” is from Love in the City of Grudges.
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