Richard Hugo is a new discovery for me and I've been spending time with this poem, loving how it opens up, loving how it opens me up.
When I lived in Alberta, the natural way to drive was west, into the mountains. But sometimes - more often as time went on - we would turn our backs to the Rockies and drive across the prairie, to the Badlands too. Over time, the mountains became something I loved in a familiar way; the bankable vistas, the nameable peaks.
But the prairie was different, it opened like a map that could never be folded right again. My mind never grasped it. Even now, I can't really tell you how I used to feel out on it. Giddy, disbelieving, bored. Fast and slow, near or far not mattering. Contented. Patient. Quiet.
This is by Richard Hugo. Happy World Poetry Day.
The day is a woman who loves you. Open.
Deer drink close to the road and magpies
spray from your car. Miles from any town
your radio comes in strong, unlikely
Mozart from Belgrade rock and roll
from Butte. Whatever the next number
you want to hear it. Never has your Buick
found this forward a gear. Even
the tuna salad in Reedpoint is good.
Towns arrive ahead of imagined schedule
Absorakee at one. Or arrive so late--
Silesia at nine--you recreate the day.
Where did you stop along the road
and have fun? Was there a runaway horse?
Did you park at that house, the one
alone in a void of grain, white with green
trim and red fence, where you know you lived
once? You remembered the ringing creek,
the soft brown forms of far off bison.
You must have stayed hours, then drove on.
In the motel you know you’d never seen it before.
Tomorrow will open again, the sky wide
as the mouth of a wild girl, friable
clouds you lose yourself to. You are lost
in miles of land without people, without
one fear of being found, in the dash
of rabbits, soar of antelope, swirl
merge and clatter of streams.