Friday, January 25, 2013

From "The Way Back" (Lew Welch)

From "The Way Back," book III
(Lew Welch)

Not that I'm on the
Other side of the River, you understand,
except literally

To get to the shack I found, you have to
cross a rickety bridge of splintered boards, of
cables, rusty, small, not really
tied any more to Alder trees.

And a Raccoon takes a shit on it,
almost every day, right where I
step to get across.

And should I wonder if it's
fear, malevolence, or chance that
makes him do this thing to me,

when nothing's really stained by it,
and yesterday a Butterfly sat down on it.

Butterfly on a Coon Turd
A wet, blue, Jay ....

Lew Welch (1926-1971) entered Reed College in 1948, and the following year moved into a house with Gary Snyder; the following year they were joined by Philip Whalen. For a number of years Welch showed his poetry only to close friends. With the emergence of the Beat movement, however, Welch's friends began receiving national attention. Despite his own burgeoning success through the 1960s, Welch's bouts with depression and heavy drinking continued. After the breakup of another relationship in 1971 Welch returned to the mountains. On May 23, 1971, Gary Snyder went up to Welch's campsite and found a suicide note in Welch's truck. Despite an extensive search, Welch's body was never recovered.

No comments: