Point Lobos: Animism

A Poem by Michael McClure

Michael McClure writes:
I have been in a spot so full of spirits
That even the most joyful animist
I'm typing this poem in on October 7, 1995, the 40th anniversary of the Six Gallery poetry reading at which it was first read. Several great poems were introduced to the world on that day, but I chose to type in this particular poem because it somehow connects for me to my own experience as the creator of Literary Kicks. I'm sitting now in front of a Sun SPARCstation 4 in a room that couldn't be farther from Point Lobos in Northern California, and yet the poem describes something I've been wanting to say.

In the year and three months since I introduced Literary Kicks on the Web, I've gotten literally thousands of e-mails from strangers, sometimes 20 or 30 a day on busy days. Some of these strangers have become good friends, but all of their words have meant a lot to me. My little $17.50 a month account at Netcom has indeed been "a spot so full of spirits," and that's what really keeps me going with this project. It's nice to be mentioned in books and magazines, but it's the personal touch that matters the most. So I'm typing this poem in right now in honor of everybody who's liked my site enough to let me know.

Point Lobos: Animism

It is possible my friend
If I have had a fat belly
That the wolf lives on fat
Gnawing slowly
Through a visceral night of rancor.
It is possible that the absense of pain
May be so great
That the possibility of care
May be impossible.

Perhaps to know pain.
Anxiety, rather than the fear
Of the fear of anxiety.
This talk of miracles!

Of Animism:
I have been in a spot so full of spirits
That even the most joyful animist
When all in sight was less to be cared about
Than death
And there was no noise in the ears
That mattered.
(I knelt in the shade
By a cold salt pool
And felt the entrance of hate
On many legs,
The soul like a clambering
Water vascular system.

No scuttling could matter
Yet I formed in my mind
The most beautiful
Of maxims.
How could I care
For your illness or mine?)
This talk of bodies!

It is impossible to speak
Of lupine or tulips
When one may read
His name
Spelled by the mold on the stumps
When the forest moves about one.
Heel. Nostril.
Light. Light! Light!
This is the bird's song
You may tell it
to your children.

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