North | An Excerpt from After Ikkyu and Other Poems

After Ikkyu and Other Poems
The mind of which we are unaware is aware of us.
R. D. Lang

The rising sun not beet.
or blood,
but sea-rose red.

I amplified my heartbeat
one thousand times,
the animals at first confused
then decided I was another
thunder being.

While talking directly to god
my attention waxed and waned.
I have a lot on my mind.

I worked out
to make myself as strong
as water.

After all these years
of holding the world together
I let it roll down the hill
into the river.

One tree leads
to another,
walking on
this undescribed earth.

I have dreamed
myself back
to where
I already am.

On a cold day
bear, coyote, cranes.
On a rainy night
a wolf with yellow eyes.
On a windy day
eleven kestrels looking
down at me.
On a hot afternoon
the ravens floated over
where I sunk
myself in the river.

Way out there
in unknown country
I walked at night
to scare myself.

Who is this other,
the secret sharer,
who directs the hand
that twists the heart,
the voice calling out to me
between feather and stone
the hour before dawn?

Somehow
I have turned into
an old brown man
in a green coat.

Having fulfilled
my obligations
my heart moves lightly
to this downward dance.

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Jim HarrisonJim Harrison is the author of numerous novels, including Legends of the Fall, Julip, and Wolf: A False Memoir. Learn more about him here.