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Poetry From Duane Locke





About the Author (click here) Poems © 1999 Duane Locke, all rights reserved
 appear here by permission

Author Notes


           Listening to crows frees us from the false beliefs that society reveres and has imposed on us so we will be weaklings like all social beings. This poem is a celebration of communication with the earth and a recovery of strength and love that only a mystic union with the earth can give.

"Crow's and Human Voices"

           Anatole France once said something somewhat similar to this:

When my cat makes a gesture or speaks, she means the gesture and she speaks truth, while human being pretend and speak lies even when they ardently believe they speak the truth.
A mood of this type is behind the poem. I've always had an intense love of crows and spent many moments listening to their crows, and I feel listening to these crow sounds inspires me to build a language of truth from the language of lies spoken by people.


           I've often wondered if those who can speak the truth of their inward experiences are no more than isolated solipsists. Is it just an illusion that we are hearing and being heard by others. Ranier Maria Rilke once wrote in a poem when we hug another we really hug ourselves. Such insights imply the absolute isolation of the individual. Our isolation is Terrible and thus we produce fictions in our minds to avoid facing the reality of this isolation.

           I was puzzled by the effectiveness of language as a vehicle of communication, and this poem grew out of such a mood.

           The poem was written after I had lunch with a girl much younger than I am. As I looked at her, I thought she does not understand me, nor do I understand her. We are two people close together at a table, yet there is an infinity of distance between us.

           As to the opening imagery, it was derived from a painting by Botticelli. In this painting angels fly disorderly above the manger and seem to collide.


           I have often noticed how people worship the false and the artificial and overlook, never see true magic, true miracles, such the clicking of a fiddler crab's claws, or the leap of a flea, or the motions of a spider's legs weaving a web. This poem was written after a conversation with my neighbor who ardently expressed an admiration of the things I disdained.

           She thought one of the greatest things in life was to ride in a limousine. She was such a fool she thought Rod McKruen a poet. This poem was antidote to the poison her words had put into my body.

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