Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Holm is where the heart is

Hi! Happy National Poetry Month [again]. Thanks for swinging by. I hope swans return to Carlos Avery again this year. I haven't seen any sign of them yet. We had a nesting pair in 2010, and a pair that stayed for a few weeks last year then disappeared. They really improve the character of the neighborhood. Speaking of neighborhood characters brings us to today's poet, Bill Holm. Bill may have been better know as an essayist, but those who knew him claim poetry was his true love (along with music, Iceland, Minneota, and box elder bugs and ...). In 2008, Bill was named the McKnight Distinguished Artist. I am lucky enough to have a copy of the book published on that occasion, which includes the following poem from Playing the Black Piano, 2004 [Milkweed Editions].
The Sea Eats What It Pleases
If you turn your back to the ocean
Do you think the tide will not find you
If it decides to rise a little higher
Than usual, to swallow an extra helping
Of gravel, to suck on your bones to clean
Its palate? The sea eats what it pleases
Whether you face it or give it your back.
No use having opinions about this.
But the sea does not hate you, or imagine
That you have wounded it with your avarice.
You cannot blaspheme the honor of water
Or insult the tide for tasting of salt.
Only humans, so newly risen from fish,
Imagine drowning each other for reasons.
I grew up next to the sea, actually, the Atlantic Ocean. I can assure you that Holm has it right. I believe this poem misses using Bear as totem, but covers almost all of Snyder's other New Nature Poetic Points. Impressive that someone from Minneota, Minnesota writes so well about the sea. Could be his Icelandic heritage speaking. No rants here today, just raves and reflections. Come again tomorrow and see if that holds.