For all of you, with my deepest gratitude, on this Thanksgiving day.
The storm drives all ashore—thrown stick with dogteeth,
twig of twisted pine,
thumbnail jellyfish with dark sails fallen, fouled ballast, soapy
Everyone here has the same story.
We are blown here out of sight of ourselves, staggering and dismayed.
Yet we are perfect —
without ladder or pyramid, pinnacle or pietà
perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect—
as one would say this, this, this, this—
seeing, in this dire wind, what there is to worship.
From Crazing, 2015.
When Don and I arrived at Jenn’s studio, I was only coming to dance with her and other amazing women dancers. Don was only there to try out various options for filming the group, in preparation for a future video of us “dancing my poetry” on the lava at Hilina Pali, or among the koa trees on the northern slopes of Mauna Kea. This was just to be a practice.
I danced with Jenn and the group for an hour or two. Then we came home. Late that day Don called out to me from his workroom. He had discovered a lovely moment – and when I looked at it I realized that it had been, for me, the heart of the dance – and had slowed it just enough to intensify its inwardness, the way it had actually felt.
And out of the blue, the right music had come to him – Kevin Puts’ “Learning to Dance,” played by the Miró String Quartet – not one of the pieces we had originally danced to, but perfect for the moment caught on film.
As soon as I saw it, “Grouse Song” began speaking in my head. This was the poem that expressed what I had experienced in the dance, though I had not gone there to dance this poem.
Nothing had to be edited. Nothing had to be changed. The music and the poem fell into the space that was waiting for them all along.
So here is a piece that was unintended, unbidden, coming into being of its own inner cohering.