Friday, 24 of November of 2017

Category » Reg Saner

Reg Saner – How the Laws of Physics Love Chocolate

Rocky Mountains


Full Moon TentThis dumbbell bee must be working
the half-dozen highest buttercups on earth.
Low alpine sun, bright enough to hurt.
Under my feet a 7-acre snowbank gargles
like gangster summer, riddled with kitchen taps.
Folding the map to a hat I squint under its brim
at the bee that can’t get enough.
Corollas needlepoint moss. Way above
timberline and the tundra still corny
with blossom. Each cliff face, the same
machine of prey, able to wipe my brains
on its next stone. I come because
the useless is pure Greek.
At the back of each columbine’s head,
a consort of blue trombones.


The typical sublime of these glacial valleys!
Their sky a bag of snakes, their wind
the usual life of crime. Terrain
Reg Saner Rocksas if gravity always won. This depth
sensed under my boots–not all
snow’s an orchard flowing south.
A crater lake the map finds
too small for a name, ice-banked
800 feet down. Clear edges darkened
to bottled dye toward the center.
My first longest throws won’t reach,
then the splashed rock–waffling under water
blue-green as Engleman spruce.
A climber fallen and slowly turning
in this bad dream, beautiful
beyond my knowing how, its slash of bubble
threading the inner ear.


Holding hands with a driven bee,
surveying granite weather. Due east,
racks of cumulus scud the plains
like garlands of hot cream. Day sets.
Distant strip-farms of wheat
go blood ripe, then one dusk bruise.
The miles of braided stream, Jasper Creek
panicked half a degree from ice.
A country saves what’s worthless for last.
Climbing down to the tent, twilight
should be enough. The wildflower stars.
These priceless leavings we now
call wilderness.


Sunset over brute force. Yes,
“War is the father of all”; and “Everything
moves through everything else.”
At last, Heraclitus, we two are alone.
“That simply amazing rock on which you sat–
admit it was this rock.” After 25
hundred years I know Heraclitus
is not even dust. And that he agrees.
Together we praise
the intelligence of fire, staring out
into every distance there is.

–Reg Saner

Reg Saner interview

Click here to listen to these speakers

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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