Absurdly Magnificent & Sad

The following is my poem, but it is not—right down to the title—my words.

Absurdly Magnificent & Sad

It is often best not to spend money on things.
Like any other unnatural system of management,
it doesn't hold up. There's nothing so lonely 
as a long, straight road. The mayfly sometimes 
mistakes it for the river: generous, and public-spirited.
The real river is so secret, its only purpose is
to get thoroughly lost. To join the unwritten places, 
free to wander, like pipe smoke in a billiard room.
Like eels, who are clearly in close touch with the moon.
Here is where you really sense the motion of the tides: 
a subversive activity, thick with mystery. A constant
baptism, wonderfully pagan, tugging at the thighs 
of our formerly lively dialogue with the deities. 

In 2019, I started something called The Florilegia Project. One thing I did regularly with that project was to create found poems from all the phrases that had sparkled out to me from whatever I’d been reading for the last six weeks. (Every six weeks there’s a new quarter or cross-quarter day of the year — Samhain, the solstices, and so on — and they are the schedule I chose to compose my foundlings.)

Like most of my projects, this one was designed to end after a year. But sometimes I find myself still dipping into the methodology of it—for play, or to shake things up when I’m working on my own poems.

The poem above was created entirely from the feeling of reading—and with phrases directly lifted from—Roger Deakin’s glorious daydream of a book, Waterlog—which I have just re-read. I’m wishing for my own summer river now, and for just half of Deakin’s courage and curiosity.

I have chosen the ordering of phrases and the punctuation, and I have changed a tense here and there. Sometimes I have joined phrases with a minor word or two.

I’m thinking about wild water a lot, because (well, because I almost always am, and also) my next collection is very much focused on it—and I am very much focused on my next collection.

Tualatin River moonset

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