Songs of UnreasonPosted: March 5, 2012
Jim Harrison’s newest poetry book, “Songs of Unreason,” is even more moving that his recent “Saving Daylight,” and “In Search of Small Gods.” The poet in winter, yes, but his mind is still on fire, the fire of recurring youth, and a blending of flowing memories of the last moment and moments far past reborn. When I told my friend Red Pine I was getting the book soon, he said, “I think it is his best ever.” Red Pine knows whereof he speaks, being the translator of Cold Mountain and Stonehouse. Harrison is up there with the discursive giants of poetry. He has uncovered himself as few poets can do. A true voyager between the inner and outer world of mind. Here’s a sample:
Back Into Memory
The tears roll up my cheek
and the car backs itself south.
I pull away from the girl and reverse
through the door without looking.
In defiance of the body the mind
does as it wishes, the crushed bones
of life reknit themselves in sunlight.
In the night the body melts itself down
to the void before birth
before you swam the river into being.
Death takes care of itself like a lightning
stroke and the following thunder
is the veil being rent in twain.
The will to live can pass away
like that raven colliding with the Sun.
In age we tilt toward home.
We want to sleep a long time, not forever,
but then to sleep a long time becomes forever.