Friday, February 13, 2015

Caribou: Poems by Charles Wright

This collection of poems by Charles Wright reminded me so much of Chinese poetry, and in his Acknowledgements he does credit the poetry of Du Fu and the poetry of ancient China. Consider this:
The deer walk out the last ledge of sunlight, one by one. –fm “Cake Walk”

Or this:
Moon soft-full just over the tips of the white pine trees. –-fm “Life Lines”

In this collection Wright speaks much of death, the transitory nature of things, of seeing things for perhaps the last time. He will be 80 years old this year, so he is deservedly feeling his years.

When is it we come to the realization
That things are wandering away? -- “Waterfalls”

There is so much here that captured me, though he and I are divided by years. Would that we learned his lessons earlier, but
Contentment comes in little steps, like old age --fm “Chinoiserie VI”

So many of his phrases I yearn to post but he warns us
Musician says, beauty is the enemy of expression.
I say, expression is the enemy of beauty.
God says, who gives a damn anyway,
Bon mots, you see, are not art or sublimity. --fm “Chinoiserie VI”
But much of what he writes in this book is distilled to its essence. So few words, so much meaning. He gets right to the heart of things.
There’s an old Buddhist saying I think I read one time:
Before Enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.
After Enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.--fm “Ducks”

Wright, immersed as he is in the end of things, shares his wisdom:
Beware of prosperity, friend, and seek affection.--fm “Heaven’s Eel”

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores

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