Monday, October 12, 2015


Reading today about the idea of place in writing both prose and poetry. "Making Sense of a Sense of Place" by Cynthia Neely in the March/April issue of The Writer's Chronicle. Alaskan poet, John Haines suggests it is an intimacy with a region that can only be earned by giving over to it as he did during his twenty plus years in the wilderness of Alaska. Poet, Pattiann Rogers says that "place" is being shaped by us at the same time it is shaping us, and that "we ourselves must always be recognized and included as affected observers...simultaneously shaping and being shaped."

I can't help but think about my old friend Ann Hanson who lived every day with that sense of being shaped by the landscape and shaping the landscape she inhabited. And though this poem presents a fictional character it speaks to Ann's idea of place.

My quick poem of the day. It is a little sentimental and not what I consider a good poem but here it is:


She traveled the mountains, two oceans,
she scaled rock and swam in heavy waves;
now her days are spent in a smaller space.

Her young companion wanted to be of value;
and asked "would she like to travel again?"
O no, she said, if you know place intimately,

there is no need to go beyond; everything lies
within your province, but only if
you've lived it. There are snow-filled clouds above

the buildings, ancient rocks beneath, there are 
whispering creature around each corner as watchful 
as the owl in the old growth trees. Touch this,

she said, as she touched a potted fern on the table,
it feels as dewy as the one I touched

one afternoon in the rain forest of San Juan.

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