poet Robert Hass

Robert Hass

Meditation At Lagunitas

All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
of that black birch is, by his presence,
some tragic falling off from a first world
of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night and in the voice
of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,
pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman
I made love to and I remembered how, holding
her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.

Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Poem Edited: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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Comments about Meditation At Lagunitas by Robert Hass

  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (3/23/2016 3:55:00 PM)

    There are absolutely great verses sprinkled throughout this poem, such as: - - - - - - - - -]
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - That the clown-
    faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
    of that black birch
    - - - - - - - - - - - - -We talked about it late last night and in the voice
    of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
    almost querulous.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - -I felt a violent wonder at her presence
    like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
    with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
    muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
    called pumpkinseed.

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  • Barry MiddletonBarry Middleton (3/23/2016 7:14:00 AM)

    Putting loss into words in a way immortalizes it. And not only does it immortalize the pain of loss but also the joy that were there before the loss. This is a very good poem IMO.

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    Kim BarneyKim Barney(3/23/2016 9:58:00 AM)

    Oh, suddenly it hit me right after I clicked 'submit'. It means IN MY OPINION.

    Kim BarneyKim Barney(3/23/2016 9:57:00 AM)

    I agree that this is a very good poem, Barry, but I didn't understand what you meant by the letters IMO at the end.

    5 person liked.
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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (3/23/2016 2:03:00 AM)

    Is about loss! ! With the muse of life. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Manonton Dalan (12/4/2015 2:03:00 AM)

    lovely /////thanks for sharing....

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  • Savita TyagiSavita Tyagi (9/17/2015 4:37:00 PM)

    Lovely reflective poem. After going through dictionary for numinous enjoyed reading it again. Thanks for sharing.

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