Saturday, December 21, 2013

A POEM FROM DANA GIOIA: THE GODS OF WINTER

HAPPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!
Last Sunday, I attended a delightful event at the Cheese Store of Pasadena: a reading and talk by poet Dana Gioia. As you may recall, Dana (I'm just going to call him Dana, since we've met and chatted) published a recent First Things piece, "The Catholic Writer Today," that's generated much commentary (including from here).

Fyi, apparently First Things will run a second month of letters about the essay, deadline January 3, so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts.

The Cheese Store laid out massive amounts of triple cremes, chevres, Roqueforts, cured meats, and artisinal bread (I had to skip the wine but that was flowing, too). I mingled with some good folks I'd never met before. Dana G. was perfectly lovely, on all counts, and is a stellar speaker, thinker, and reader of his poems. I'm truly happy to have met him.

And all along Lake Street, and in the courtyard outside the Cheese Store, was light.




ROUGH COUNTRY

Give me a landscape made of obstacles,
of steep hills and jutting glacial rock,
where the low-running streams are quick to flood
the grassy fields and bottomlands.
A place
no engineers can master–where the roads
must twist like tendrils up the mountainside
on narrow cliffs where boulders block the way.
Where tall black trunks of lightning-scalded pine
push through the tangled woods to make a roost
for hawks and swarming crows.
And sharp inclines
where twisting through the thorn-thick underbrush,
scratched and exhausted, one turns suddenly
to find an unexpected waterfall,
not half a mile from the nearest road,
a spot so hard to reach that no one comes–
a hiding place, a shrine for dragonflies
and nesting jays, a sign that there is still
one piece of property that won't be owned.

--Dana Gioia, from The Gods of Winter, 1991



2 comments:

  1. Wow. Amazing poem. Thank you for sharing it. I may have to check out his book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good solid blank verse! Bravo, Mr Gioia -- and thanks, HK!

    ReplyDelete

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