No Need to Bother

Recently, in a bid to consider trying my hand at writing the occasional bit of poetry, I pick up a copy of Jim Harrison’s In Search of Small Gods, open to the first poem, and shortly ask myself why I should even bother to try, considering he’s already summed up everything I want to say. . . .

I Believe (by Jim Harrison, from In Search of Small Gods)

I believe in steep drop-offs, the thunderstorm across the lake

in 1949, cold winds, empty swimming pools,

the overgrown path to the creek, raw garlic,

used tires, taverns, saloons, bars, gallons of red wine,

abandoned farmhouses, stunted lilac groves,

gravel roads that end, brush piles, thickets, girls

who haven’t quite gone totally wild, river eddies,

leaky wooden boats, the smell of used engine oil,

turbulent rivers, lakes without cottages lost in the woods,

the primrose growing out of a cow skull, the thousands

of birds I’ve talked to all my life, the dogs

that talked back, the Chihuahuan ravens that follow

me on long walks. The rattler escaping the cold hose,

the fluttering unknown gods that I nearly see

from the left corner of my blind eye, struggling

to stay alive in a world that grinds them underfoot.


12 thoughts on “No Need to Bother

  1. David Cranmer

    What beautiful words! And I will be buying the collection tonight. But I have to disagree with you, Chris. Your journey is your journey and is unique and different from Mr. Harrison. I want to see life though your eyes. Please get writing.

  2. April

    Thanks for reminding me how good Jim Harrison is. That’s probably my favorite collection of his. And I agree with David Cranmer – if you subscribe to the “it’s been written before, I can’t do any better” you’re defeated before you even try. 🙂


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