Tag Archives: Solitude



Judy was a beauty
tall and blonde and shy
early this month she decided to die

The soft wise eyes, the curling lashes
all now ashes

We have been friends for twenty years
hugs and coffee when in town, cards when far away

And always the latest poetry

She said it was important, and it touched her
in places nothing and no one else could reach

Three years ago
I put my neck in a green eyed noose

I sent no cards, I did not call

I do not know if I could have saved her
though touch and poetry have been known to

I only know I hate what I did and didn’t do
I only know that she drowned out there alone
I only know it was a long time since I had thrown her a line



It was in the old Taos Hotel in New Mexico. I had just spent
the night there on my way back from the Light Institute in
Santa Fe, and picked up a book in their little reading room.
It contained this wonderful description.

A poet is something strange and apart, a favourite of the gods, who have bestowed on him an extreme sensitiveness and sensibility,
like open doors and windows, to subtle and delicate impressions that but bruise themselves against other men’s walls; these he captures ad coaxes to sing to him, and intoxicated by the beauty of their melodies builds for them a golden cage and feeds them on honey from the sweetest flowers in his garden: till they in their happiness become so musical, fancying themselves in heaven , that Jove conveys immortality on them, and swinging in their golden cages they sing sweetly forever, lifting up the harts of men in every clime and generation.

As I read in the lobby a lady sat down opposite me in a comfortable old sofa, about four feet away across a gently rugged coffee table.

I had heard the desk clerk greet her as she entered and ask her how the writing was going. We smiled at each other as she sat down. There was a warmth and a recognition in the smile and a knowing that we would each have liked to say something, but we didn’t.

I really would have liked to share the paragraph with her,
but I didn’t.

Later I passed her and a companion having lunch and we again shared the , “Hi, old friend I’ve know forever,” smiles, but didn’t speak

A couple of hours later I was sprinting across the street on the way back to the hotel when a car stopped to let me cross in front of it. It was her again. This time we both laughed and smiled and went our separate ways.

Maybe we were laughing at fate and it’s three good tries, and
our ability to ignore them all, or the lack of courage that had
allowed us to pass – like two sheeps in the night



It was first solo cross country night
with all the fears of those new at flight

But the full winter moon lit a chess-board
of snow covered stubble and black fallow fields
and small creeks, winding east, from the mountains

All of the fears into the liquid moonlight melted
while flared nerves stayed open to the beauty

And the Cessna ran smooth at five thousand feet
I couldn’t have been higher, at fifty



My folks took some time off in the sixties
from their Saskatchewan ranching and
traveled down through South Texas

One day they stopped to talk to an
old cowboy sittin and a wittlin
on a rickety ranch porch

When he found out where they were from he said
“Say – do you know a man up there
by the name of Bill Prior?”

They said “Yes, he’s an old bachelor who lives up
past our north pasture, why do you ask?”

“Well” he said, “About 1928 Bill and I were out lookin
for some strays when we see another rider
coming over the furthest hill.”

Bill said to me, “It’s getting too damn crowded

down here,I’m heading for Canada”

“He turned his horse North and I haven’t
seen him since”



Their little dark houses still dotted the prairie

when I was growing up


They all seemed to cling to the soil as if their

life force had all been used up in the long and

difficult transplanting, and they could hang on

but no longer grow


Or they stood alone and surrounded by sadness

and the small and smaller markers of what had

fallen to the reaper’s scythe


Their roots, loosened year after year

by the hot winds and the deep frosts

became more and more brittle


Until one by one they broke off

like tumbleweeds

and were gone