So Many Clouds, so Many Stars

August 28, 2013 § Leave a comment


So quiet out tonight, so many stars…

I struggle with my work and the attendant depression, but this place is so beautiful, so nurturing, and I’m very comfortable here now. Most of this group is leaving Friday, which is sad, I like them all, but there will be new people Monday, and I’m looking forward to that. I don’t expect to have such an amiable group, but I’m curious about the differences.

This weekend I’ll be alone here with one other woman and we’ve rented a car, so I’ll get to see more of the area. The Devil’s Tower—a laccolith made famous by Close Encounters of the Third Kind is one destination; The Bighorn National Forest another. Lake DeSmet sounds good too. And the Dull Knife Reservoir (okay, I just put that in for the name). Maybe a night on the town in Sheridan or Buffalo.

I love the way new places become home in a couple of weeks. My bedroom, my studio, the dining room where we eat our fantastic meals, the road I walk on at dusk, the mountains and the fields full of deer-—hard to imagine giving it all up, now, though I miss the city every day (or maybe every other day).

Those of you who are artists or writers or composers—you should come here for a few weeks. It’s not to be missed. And Judith–you should come back.

I went looking for a poem about stars–one in the back of my mind, a very famous one I can’t quite remember–and found this; a young love poem by Gary Snyder. Written when he was studying zen in Japan, it has expresses more regret and uncertainty that I’m used to from this poet.

Four Poems for Robin

Siwashing It Out Once in Suislaw Forest

I slept under rhododendron
All night blossoms fell
Shivering on a sheet of cardboard
Feet stuck in my pack
Hands deep in my pockets
Barely able to sleep.
I remembered when we were in school
Sleeping together in a big warm bed
We were the youngest lovers
When we broke up we were still nineteen
Now our friends are married
You teach school back east
I dont mind living this way
Green hills the long blue beach
But sometimes sleeping in the open
I think back when I had you.

A Spring Night in Shokoku-ji

Eight years ago this May
We walked under cherry blossoms
At night in an orchard in Oregon.
All that I wanted then
Is forgotten now, but you.
Here in the night
In a garden of the old capital
I feel the trembling ghost of Yugao
I remember your cool body
Naked under a summer cotton dress.

An Autumn Morning in Shokoku-ji

Last night watching the Pleiades,
Breath smoking in the moonlight,
Bitter memory like vomit
Choked my throat.
I unrolled a sleeping bag
On mats on the porch
Under thick autumn stars.
In dream you appeared
(Three times in nine years)
Wild, cold, and accusing.
I woke shamed and angry:
The pointless wars of the heart.
Almost dawn. Venus and Jupiter.
The first time I have
Ever seen them close.

December at Yase

You said, that October,
In the tall dry grass by the orchard
When you chose to be free,
“Again someday, maybe ten years.”

After college I saw you
One time. You were strange.
And I was obsessed with a plan.

Now ten years and more have
Gone by: I’ve always known
where you were–
I might have gone to you
Hoping to win your love back.
You still are single.

I didn’t.
I thought I must make it alone. I
Have done that.

Only in dream, like this dawn,
Does the grave, awed intensity
Of our young love
Return to my mind, to my flesh.

We had what the others
All crave and seek for;
We left it behind at nineteen.

I feel ancient, as though I had
Lived many lives.
And may never now know
If I am a fool
Or have done what my
karma demands.

Gary Snyder


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