Thursday, May 3, 2007

Jim Harrison's Eye

Some of the great writing in Off to the Side finds Jim Harrison writing about losing his eye as a child and the attempts to restore sight to it.

Here's a poem I wrote that is, I guess, as the title suggests, about that eye.

Jim Harrison’s Eye

A writer I’ve never met
Living in Michigan
Lost an eye as a child
And now sees grace, bones, and spirit in
Immigrants and mountains.

He can sing of oxygen felt
Humming through his heart
On Lake Superior, northern
Lights sent spinning green
Across the sky.

I kept both eyes, grew up easy,
Hunted imaginary deer at dawn,
Pushed slow through November
And crouched behind great rolls of hay,
The straw sharp against my face.

I kept both eyes, tried to forge
Wisdom out of complexity,
Waited for grand visions,
Awe and wonder,
Invented scars to impress the page.

I misled myself and missed
The falling stars and the
Muffled white of winter,
The freedom that rubs
Raw stones, forests, and soil.

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