Two poems from Jim Harrison's first publication, Plainsong (1965):
I think of the twenty thousand poems of Li Po
and wonder, do words follow me or I them--
a word drunk?
I do not care about fine phrases,
the whoring after honor,
the stipend, the gift, the grant-
but I would feed on an essence
until it yields to me my own dumb form-
the weight raw, void of intent;
to see behind the clarity of glass
the birth of new creatures
suffused with light.
The sun's warm against the slats of the granary,
a puddle of ice in the shadow of the steps;
a bluetick hound lopes
across the winter wheat--
fresh green, cold green.
The windmill, long out of use,
screeches and twists in the wind.
A spring day too loud for talk
when bones tire of their flesh
and want something better.