Friday, 23 of February of 2018

Reg Saner – For Six Navaho Smoke Jumpers: Monument Forest

This poem is from his book, Climbing Into the Roots.  A couple reviews of this book precede the poem:

“Saner’s is not an easy optimism, it’s a courage that comes from facing up to grief and loss, from stepping out of the self and acknowledging the otherness of the world.” –Susan Wood, Houston Chronicle

“Clear images that demonstrate man’s unseverable link to nature . . . as an informing presence, and end in itself rather than a consolation prize. Saner’s verse has the clarity and crispness of that theme.” –Booklist

As Read by DeaneTR

Around its small lake
the field chokes
where six black-haired men stare
at the emotional problems of fire.
It circles their last rock,
which is nothing but water.

Near them
the branches slobber
and weep as their clothes
begin to steam like boughs,
while high over fir
and lodge-pole the last of the magpies
flying hard against updraft
can do nothing about it.

Tree after tree bursts
into harvest,
and the wide eyes of the men
understand.  In this thick breath
of nails, they wear skins
already captive. Their teeth
will become black
as early rings of stones
in caves.

With the next gust
their body hair will curl,
then flash in tongues
teaching them all there is to learn
about seasons.  As the forest cools
they will blow like autumn
across America.

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