The Strange Notes of our Wildness


The flying foxes (bats) in Sydney’s Hyde Park. They are an extreme statement of wildness very close at hand.

It is not skill, knowledge, intellect,
good luck or bad, but choosing
to feel the strange notes
of our wildness,
for there is not nothingness
despite the easy magic
of despair.

Another moment spent in the company of Terrance Keenan (along with a few others I’ve had in the past, here and here.) The “strange notes of our wildness” as well as the “easy magic” of our darker days—these are both zones I know well.

I am coupling this with another deep dive poem by the good and gentle William Stafford. He speaks with a sage’s measured gait, cutting right past everything that is moving so fast that it stays on the surface of things and can’t get seep down into the root system. I just love this man’s point of view.

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

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1 comment

  1. Maureen’s avatar

    Who among poetry lovers can not have William Stafford in their life? How he puts words together is thrilling.

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