For Lew Welch In A Snowfall

Snowfall in March:
I sit in the white glow reading a thesis
About you. Your poems, your life.

The author's my student,
He even quotes me.

Forty years since we joked in a kitchen in Portland
Twenty since you disappeared.

All those years and their moments—
Crackling bacon, slamming car doors,
Poems tried out on friends,
Will be one more archive,
One more shaky text.

But life continues in the kitchen
Where we still laugh and cook,
Watching snow.

Anonymous submission.

by Gary Snyder

Comments (6)

One more shaky text! Thanks for sharing.
There is an intimacy here, evoked by the format of a quiet conversation, belying the irony that the other participant has been dead for 20 years. It hauntingly encapsulates the power of a friendship that still grips, still hurts, still remains as fresh as a conversation, twenty years later. Remarkably executed.
I admire the author of this poem...... His work is remarkable...
Magnificent poem. Startling in its clarity while misty and memorial in its backward glance. Lew Welch was a poet of remarkable talent (read his work - start here: https: // . One day he walked away into the scrub and forest of the hills where he and Snyder remotely, rustically, homesteaded on adjoining parcels of land. Snyder was actively involved in finding him. But no one ever saw Lew Welch again. Snyder poem has all the nostalgia and loss, all the acknowledgement of life and accomplishment wrapped in the skin of a quiet domestic evening. The way it is all bundled together in such a small, personal poem is both heartbreaking and wonderful and somehow deeply affirming of life. No value judgements, just observation. Selection of the exact images to convey both exact and vague feelings. It's like an explosion of emotion under the gentle surface. A tea ceremony that encapsulates history and culture and the specific individuals within.
This one reached out and grabbed me around the neck and shook me until I felt his sorrow and his backward glances in my heart
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