the idea of balance is to be found in herons and loons

great blue heron


I heard a loon call on a TV ad and my body gave itself a quite voluntary shudder. As in the night in East Africa I heard the immense barking cough of a lion, so foreign and indifferent.

But the lion drifts away and the loon stays close, calling as she did in my childhood, in the cold rain a song that tells the world of men to keep its distance.

It isn’t the signal of another life for the reminder of anything except her call call: still, at this quiet point past midnight the rain is the same rain that fell so long ago and the moon says I’m seven years old again.

At the far ends of the lake where no one lives or visits — there are no roads to get there; you take the watercourse way, the quiet drip and drizzle of oars slight squeak oarlock, the bare feet can feel the cold water moves beneath the old wood boat.

At one end the lordly, great blue heron’s nest at the top of the white pine; at the other end the loons, just after daylight in a cream-colored mist, drifting with wails that begin as querulous, rising then into the spheres in volume, with lost or doomed angels imprisoned within their breasts.


Baba Jim Harrison the Beloved


james laura raven river gyre violet narwhal whales


If my

body is my home

what is this house full of blood

within my skin? I can’t leave it for a moment

but finally will. It knows up and down, sideways,

the texture of the future and remnants of the past.

It accepts moods as law to matter how furtively

they slip in and out of consciousness.

He says, “Pull yourself together,”

but he already is. An old voice

says, “Stay close to



Jim Harrison


sasha - Version 2

It is

hard not to see

poets as penitentes flaying

their brains for a line. They have

imaginary tattoos that can’t be removed.

They think of themselves as mental Zorros riding

the high country while far below moist and virginal señoritas

wait impatiently in the valley. Poets run on rocks barefoot when

shoes are available for a dime. They stand on cliffs but not

too close to the fatal edge. They have examined their

unfamiliar motives but still harvest the

wildflowers they never planted.

The horizon has long since

disappeared behind




have this idea

that they have been cremated

but aren’t quite dead. Their ashes are eyes.

At night the stars sprinkle down upon them like salt.

At noon they are under porches with the rest of the

world’s stray and mixed-breed dogs, only

momentarily noticed, and are never

petted except by children

and fools.


His Majesty Baba Jim