March 29, 2016: RIP Jim Harrison. Here is a link to the New York Times obituary. I first encountered Harrison in the basement office of a professor in East Lansing, MI. The seminar centered around Michigan writers. I was a transplant from Buffalo, and the rough nature-gritty writers seemed in sharp contrast to the steel belt writers of my hometown. While A Woman Lit by Fireflies grabbed my attention then, this poem below grabs my attention this morning.
Let’s not get romantic or dismal about death.
Indeed it’s our most unique act along with birth.
We must think of it as cooking breakfast,
it’s that ordinary. Break two eggs into a bowl
or break a bowl into two eggs. Slip into a coffin
after the fluids have been drained, or better yet,
slide into the fire. Of course it’s a little hard
to accept your last kiss, your last drink,
your last meal about which the condemned
can be quite particular as if there could be
a cheeseburger sent by God. A few lovers
sweep by the inner eye, but it’s mostly a placid
lake at dawn, mist rising, a solitary loon
call, and staring into the still, opaque water.
We’ll know as children again all that we are
destined to know, that the water is cold
and deep, and the sun penetrates only so far.