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A Poet's Journal: June 30th, 2014

June 30th, 2014

A 4-day hike in the Basque Mountains

Lying low upon the ground, breathing in the night air, and awakening to a slight chill, though it is the middle of summer, is enough for the body to regain its vitality.  It would be easy here for the mind to leave its thoughts to the scattered mist, but even if we tell ourselves that an unfettered freedom lies before us upon the trail, there is always something of our nagging and mundane lives following.  The contrast is too simple for us not to notice, and instead of feeling enlivened by it, there is the realization that we have not yet broken free from it all, but neither have we decided what we want to break free from.
A constellation arose on the door of our tent at night, and following it, the first rays of sun spread through our damp affairs with the enduring scent of heat--all of it though matters not unless one can see the place and the meaning it gives to his onward movements.
Douglas Thornton

Mineola: The Spirit of the War-Path

Here is the first act of a drama from Woodland Poems--feel free to comment!
Scene: A wood near an Indian Village (late evening) Enter: Two women (Mineola and Nakakowa) gathering wood Mineola: See you how this dark world in silence be? I think the evening awakes anxiousness Just as the morning delays it: Hear you? You may hear the birds, but they are far away; They sing, but their songs are echoes, long, faint; And yet they tell a truth, but it is scarce: That we are far from ourselves when we’d be The most intimate, and that our precious Moments are thoughts too lazy to be felt— And this, this, the worst sort of anxiousness! Nakakowa: And why? Mineola: Such times as this, when men are tired, I am awake, but cannot act myself, And being another, am an enemy To myself who was a friend, and un-friend The man who rises fresh to his passion.

Lost Poet Series: John Clare

If ever he were consoled by his own voice, even through loneliness of heart and failure of spirit, John Clare merits the attention of those who, not through pity, but of genuine desire, seek the inner motivations of man. His poetry, strange and wonderful, still remains intimate to those with a solitary moment to spare and his descriptions of the countryside offer a reason to escape.
Born on July 13th, 1793 at a time when men could still gain livings by titles such as 'wandering fiddler', of which Clare's grandfather was one, or 'wrestler and corn thrasher' as was his father, our poet grew up. Often said to be dreamy and shy--for one day he had gone off to search for the horizon--yet the boy gained from leisurely entertainment a scanty upbringing in poetry while listening 'to a curious old lady called Granny Baines' recite folk songs and ballads. Among the countryside he roamed much, but desiring in those early years to write verse, he was said to sit on hi…