I saw myself / a ring of bone

In 1971, the poet Lew Welch left Gary Snyder’s house and walked off into the mountains. He was never seen again.
I’ve loved his poetry for all the forty three years he has not been around. Snyder rated him the best of their generation.
Search out his work. Ring of Bone has been reprinted and is widely available.
There’s a wee poem of his that has bothered me all those years:

Redwood haiku

Orange, the brilliant slug –
nibbling at the leaves of

Not because of the haiku (though it barely qualifies as that) but because I had never seen a trillium. Until today at Dawyck. Of course there it is. I should have known it would be here, among the Californian redwoods, among the plants that David Douglas brought back from those parts.

Trillium erectum:



(I saw myself
a ring of bone
in the clear stream
of all of it

and vowed
always to be open to it
that all of it
might flow through

and then heard
“ring of bone” where
ring is what a

bell does)


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