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« Congratulations Heather McHugh - 2009 MacArthur Foundation Grant Recipeint | Main | Tripping [by Jennifer Michael Hecht] »

September 22, 2009

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One of my favorites. I don't know what the (1999) implies after David Wagoner's name above. The poem was written well before that. I first read it in the late 1980's.

Terry, I've just realised that the '1999' reference is in relation to when his book, 'Travelling Light - Collected and New Poems' was published.

thank you for this.

It was published in 1971. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=31967

I hate it, so condescending, I’d stay lost, thankfully art is one thing open to personal criticism, it’s just personal

Nature is always condescending. The way it keeps human arrogance in check.

Beautifully said Jill.

Thanks for the info. The page in POETRY magazine is truly beautiful.

no one asked

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you .................... tripping , lol ...

based

haha. I like you Jill. I agree.

Condescension is at least half created by the perceiver; and conflict, the process of consummation.

Hey Sarah, I dont disagree with you, nor do I want to convince you.
But I think "staying lost", and to be brazen, is exactly what the poem is suggesting in a practical sense.

That we're all lost, in the sense of exploring an unknown world, and while we love this freedom, we get scared when we realize we may be all alone in our journeys.
And in that moment, Mr. Wagoner suggests, don't be afraid and don't feel lost.

Everything around you is welcoming you and awaiting for your request to invite it in.
And when we pay attention, or "return to our bodies", so to speak, we're not lost.

Because we have nowhere to go, we're where we're supposed to be.
Part of a greater whole, where every branch and tree are serving a purpose (ie the "powerful stranger").

If we can see this, we can never be lost.
This is the essence of stillness, or "Here", in Zen.

It is losing touch with this mode of being, that is felt as a sense of loss, any loss.

that's what I got, YMMV.
(sorry my interpretation is still kinda patchy, but I think this is in context of Zen or similar philosophy. reeeeeeeeeeks of it)

This is one of the most profound poems ever ... all of us are lost and this is the wisdom that helps us to become un lost .... patriica

Oh dear. Trees and bushes are inanimate and birds have, well, bird brains. I'm afraid that this is just hippy drivel. Believe me, if one is lost in a forest, panic is a normal state of mind and whilst standing still may well be a good idea, it is unlikely to stop one from being lost. I think that Mr. Wagoner had something to say, but he chose entirely the wrong way to say it.

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