Some days, he would be not in a mood to talk, or too engrossed in his writings. On those afternoons, I would go through his vast cobwebbed library. From those dusty shelves, I would extract treasures. Treasures, wrapped in tattered jackets, or shrouded in brown paper, or left to be, at the mercy of silverfish. Treasures he jealously guarded, like an ancient dragon guarding its gold; treasures which he yearned to share.
Once, while giving me couple of his books as a parting gift, he told me "Take these, few read poetry these days..". He was smiling, yet his eyes were struggling to hold back tears.
I have tried to keep the legacy alive. I still read poetry, and I still write.
So today, when I chanced upon two poets whom I first met on those brown paper covered afternoons, I felt like sharing them.
Few read poetry, but perhaps you are one of them...
“ I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
— John Muir
It was late in May and yet the day was chill
And gray as I walked out in rain
To see the budded trees and catch the quickening scent
Of lilac and wisteria, honeysuckle, apple blossom.
A pair of Northern Orioles sang a merry song
From the highest branches of an aspen,
Blackbirds clacked and started up from grasses
And wood ducks watched without alarm.
I felt that I was seeking something in my walk—but what?
Respite from restiveness? Meaning in mere motion?
The going in that going out is?
The going on no matter what that life is?
Until I climbed a hill and saw a pair of maples
Form a sort of gate I didn’t know what I had come for:
To walk through a gate of trees at the crest of a hill
Where the wind walks.
Mission Tire Factory, 1969
All through lunch Peter pinched at his crotch,
And Jesús talked about his tattoos,
And I let the flies crawl my arm, undisturbed,
Thinking it was wrong, a buck sixty five,
The wash of rubber in our lungs,
The oven we would enter, squinting
---because earlier in the day Manny fell
From his machine, and when we carried him
To the workshed (blood from
Under his shirt, in his pants)
All he could manage, in an ignorance
Outdone only by pain, was to take three dollars
From his wallet, and say:
"Buy some sandwiches.You guys saved my life."
- Gary Soto