Featured Poet: James Duffy, Keene
James Duffy lives in Keene, NH. He holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. His poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, the eleventh MUSE, Contemporary Review, Aurora, and Crying Sky: Poetry and Conversation. His poem, Prayer, was included in the anthology Under the Legislature of Stars: 62 New Hampshire Poets.
The poem I have chosen, Do Not Miss What is Here, reflects my ongoing concern with our ecology. I am also ever aware-- when I attempt to write poems-- of the gap between language and experience and how one seeks to make order out of seemingly random thoughts and events in search of meaning, freedom, love,control and security. Fools Crow was a Native American healer who helped negotiate an end to the standoff at Wounded Knee.
Do Not Miss What is Here
The machine under the skin
makes up the logic now and then
a land of stone and cold wind.
It is difficult to see a hair
at midnight. These windows
are absurd. What can I sketch on the walls?
Wild West. White City. Electricity
Building. I wave sadly
at the butterflies, catacombs of
beetles, some leaves on the tree
that remain. A small red glow that
moves abruptly. Sweet grass
folds in presence. I hear an owl call.
Fools Crow could travel for days outside
his body when he spit on the lodge stones
igniting his prayer.
Thomas Edison said man is a
corporate machine whose units-- endowed
with great intelligence-- concentrate
in small cells like towns
within which many citizens dwell.
Mullen seeds-- dormant for
hundreds of years-- are known to sprout
hold and heal scarred earth.
Something is happening meanwhile.
The light grows out again the disarray
of sunrise. I distinguish more certain shapes.