Saturday, June 25, 2016

Philip Whalen

La Condition Humaine

makes Friedrich Schiller, his personal
Oeconomy almost overrun by tubercle bacilli
Proclaim joy out of Elysium
Joy and brotherhood also drive Schopenhauer,
And Nietzsche, to suicide
Sparks Wagner's megalomaniac theatricals
With humanity as "given"
Expect nothing but trouble: No omelet from rotten eggs
4:31 A.M. war, murder, misery,
But somebody recently arranged eggs without cholesterol
("O King, live forever!")
To take care of your plugged-up veins
Gibbon says, " . . . the wisdom and authority of the
Legislator are seldom victorious in a contest
With the vigilant dexterity of private interest."

San Francisco

fr. Enough Said: Poems 1974-1979
[San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1980]

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Philip Garrison . . .

The Stories


A small rain
a thin cold rain

clicks on the shake roof &
on miles & miles of valley.

        They came to the pine forest hills:
        "What a wonderful tree!
        "Look, it has eyes & hair!
        "Look, here is a quiver and a bow"
        & he followed them home.

We sit by the living room woodstove
& tell stories, dry
& warm in the high dark
Columbia Plateau winter.

And step outside only
to throw in more wood
the rough bark, tight grain
clattering into flame.


The people'd been hungry weeks
& a mangy old bull wandered by:
"Ah, don't kill him.
"Rub his back with firewood."

Next day a few buffalo
walked right into the traps:
"For a little while we are saved.
"We have a little meat."

Those people were Blackfeet
400 miles east, over
the Columbia River cliffs
                                     --the plains

snowed-in tonight
the buffalo killed off
& people gone into cities.

That is the story
we were telling.


Back outside
no moon.
I pick up the kindling.
Hooves scrape nearby
through snow, on wide
stiff frozen grassland.

A shape lurches into the firelight.
A weight falls from my hands.
The fire turns & tosses.

--Philip Garrison

fr. Monks Pond No. 4, Winter 1968
in Monks Pond: Thomas Merton's Little Magazine
[Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 1989]