Without Reservation: Poems

Without Reservation: Poems

Without Reservation: Poems

Without Reservation: Poems


John Smelcer is a very considerable American poet, an astute observer of our contemporary scene. -- X. J. Kennedy -- These poems clear, rueful, courageous, sardonic, hard-lived, and backed up with a big heart and life-knowledge. -- Gary Snyder -- This is poetry as it should be, without a wasted word, with unparalleled attention to sound and rhythm. -- W. P. Kinsella


All summer, I have been feeding a raven who comes to the river asking for salmon.

For weeks, we talk of the origin of things while I cut fish to dry on racks in the sun.

Months later, when geese fly overhead in long, slow arrows, I am lost moose hunting.

When night fell upon its dark knees and the moon was a fingernail at the rim of the world,

I listened to tight-stringed wind from inside my fluttering tent, and by morning,

In a shudder, the world was wintered. Quietly, through the gray wolf of the North

I watched him arrive to lead me from the forest, tree by tree, until I was home and we spoke for the last time.

Tsin’aen, Saghani Ggaay. Tsin’aen. “Thank you, Great Raven. Thank you.”

As he flew away towards far ochre mountains, I could hear him singing and singing.

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