from Image-Nation 26 (being-thus

Robin Blaser

copyright ©2006 The Regents of the University of California

the Bible is as historical
as you or I
and feathered as our words
a crow there, a peacock,
a sparrow pecking sidewalk
We both know it takes centuries
to say that,
bumming it,
riding the rails of that railroad,
you and I whistling past
all stops.

8 August 2002

Notes on the Poem

When it was recognized with the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2008, Robin Blaser's The Holy Forest was over five decades in the perpetual making. This selection from "Image-Nation" is a small but piquant snippet of a work spanning not only many years, but many pages, and numerous stylistic and thematic explorations. Why piquant? In just a few brief words and lines, with some economical but vivid images, Blaser captures in a novel and fresh way the simple pleasure of an enduring friendship. while the references to the Bible and "historical" might be rueful references to the age of "you or I", it is probably also an affectionate tribute to a long-standing relationship. Over the course of that relationship, words have flown between this pair like different kinds of birds, suggesting the words have been as vicious, proud or benign at times as crows, peacocks or sparrows. Through all that - seemingly "centuries" - the pair have stayed and shared the journey, jauntily flying together "past / all stops." They've stayed on track with each other, and it's clearly been a wonderful ride.

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