“It is life’s work to recognize the mystery of the obvious”
Jim Harrison ~ Songs of Unreason

Why is the obvious only obvious to some?
and if so can it then be called obvious?
surely there should be no confusion- yet there is
so can we allow for mist descending in plain sight
cloth-heading some in misunderstanding

Is the self-evident only a state of mind?
(I’ve tried discernible in plain speaking, it’s so unedifying
and who can resist reaching for Thesaurean obscurities?)
I wonder though, do we dig too deep into consciousness
side- stepping the visible as though it were a blind
the patient mis-directed to hidden depths of shallowness

Is God the atomic cement of our world?
And can that Divinity be divined with words in one hand
meanings in the other – as from the first moment
when Adam heard the questioning voice?

Oh so many questions since then to tease ourselves with
yet there is something uncanny  that lurks
in the most urbane of words
– try for example repeating ‘bench’ over and over
(quite spontaneously I would parrot thus as a child)
and as the repetitions roll like surf on shingle
solidity vanishes to infinity, the meaning a detached retina
with a sink hole suddenly agape in the lexiconic universe

And so Mr Jim Harrison perhaps life’s work could be better spent
undoubtedly you’ve left us now, and and left us a legacy
such thought-pricking Songs of Unreason, like zen koans
to blind-side the mind and knock us into a dimension
where what is obvious is evidently the most mysterious of all

Phew! Just made it to the final of Jilly’s pick of Jim Harrison quotes for poetry prompt on Day 28 of 28 Days of Unreason
And since it’s Thursday there’s no better way to end this Harrisonian lunar month than to join other dVersers for Open Link Night

33 Comments on “Conclusive?

  1. I wonder though, do we dig too deep into consciousness
    side- stepping the visible as though it were a blind
    the patient mis-directed to hidden depths of shallowness

    You’ve reminded me of Irvin Yalom here, and Staring at the Sun. We search for complexity, but actually our fears are fairly simple.


  2. Yes, JH has left us. About 2 months befor I did the first challenge in 2016 he, hopefully, found the answers to all the questions he had posed. You last paragraph gives me the impression that you have read his work and life extensively – it fits just that well. Glad you went with this angle – it has served you well this month.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Having been immersed in Harrison these 28 days I have a glimmer of where and what he was at – had not read him before (so many poets I do not know) so every quote you gave us was like a fresh morning idea – thank you again for this poetry class x

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you, Laura. I’ve marveled at your writing this month; it expanded and went deep. I also appreciate your kind words about my absence; life was handing out large amounts of bureaucratic crap and both my time and my mind were overloaded.


  3. I am out of the loop not having read Harrison but I like the way of this poem as it stands alone.

    I think about stuff like this all the time. I talk about the meaning of words with other people a lot too and usually they look at me as though I have two heads…they are usually not poets who when confronting anomalies in language or in life usually nod knowingly. But words are only symbols and each person seems to have dozens of denotations for them that aren’t listed in the thesaurus, or in the dictionaries or in anyone else’s brain. It makes conversations at some point impossible and yet often really amusing.


  4. This is outstanding, Laura! I love this :”…. can that Divinity be divined with words in one hand
    meanings in the other ….”
    Speaking to JH in your final stanza was fitting. It’s been a pleasure reading your work and I would do it again….in a heartbeat.


  5. “I wonder though, do we dig too deep into consciousness/side- stepping the visible as though it were a blind”: This is evocative because the search of meaning is rooted in humanity. And besides the understanding of the same, nothing means nothing. I like how you portray these true untruths and truths because they go hand in hand. It’s perhaps good for the obvious to be so elusive after all.
    A very interesting write.


  6. Nice phrases: “words in one hand
    meanings in the other” and the first line about the obvious being so only to some.


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