Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Saturday 5 March 2011

George Mattingly: Driving


Three male Tule Elk (Cervus canadiensis, subsp. nannodes), standing in heavy fog along Tomales Point Trail, Point Reyes National Seashore: photo by Wing-Chi Poon, 2008




purple ceanothus

in singular fog

voices advertising trust

round sharp curve

just a second

for life

to straighten

and pass.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus, Real Jardin Botánico, Madrid: photo by A. Barra, 2004

Ceanothus jepsonii
var. jepsonii, Pine Mountain Fire Road, Marin County, California: photo by Eric from SF, 26 February 2011

George Mattingly: Driving, from Ten Poems, 1999




Johnny & I took that hike out the Pierce Point Trail last year, and there they were -- those Tule Elk, not in fog that day but bright windy blue, "just a second/ for life/ to straighten/ and pass". . . .


first grey light in sky above blackness
of ridge, silver of planet next to leaf
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

in brackets, interchange in
which the second kind

of motion, this in addition
to physical fact, etc.

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
shadowed green slope of ridge across it

Lally said...

What a pleasure to see Mattingly among your many splendid and generous nods to other poets Tom. Thanks.

TC said...

Thank you Steve and Mike, Praise be the Tule Elk and Praise be George... and not forgetting the Paradox Purpose persuasion purple ceanothus, surely the most lovely strain of that ubiquitous flower.


that's the atmosphere I saw this morning with the thought "the end of the world happened before we were born"

TC said...


I definitely think you're on to something, with that thought.

(By the by, George reports the Tule Elk are appropriate, as the driving was up in that direction -- toward Stinson, to be precise.)

Anonymous said...

It has been very enjoyable today running around with George Mattingly's poem and these images in my head, running them over and over during the day. Unlike others who have commented, I'm unfamiliar with Mattingly's poetry and would very probably have responded differently to it if I hadn't encountered it on Beyond The Pale. The elks, the words and Steve's poem (really wonderful) are all important to me.



Maybe more about that thought will come the next time there's "just a second/ for life/ to straighten/ and pass" but those moments seem decades apart for some of us non-Tule-Elk spirits. Still I was only toward Stinson once.

Here they have "Hamanassett" and I hope to visit Jane Kenyon's grave


Tom and All,

The Tule Elk will be in out there in the fog/rain today, along w/ everything else this morning - - -


grey white rain cloud against invisible
ridge, silver of drop falling from leaf
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

this distant echo of effect,
“inverted perspective”

painted, picture of surface
visual, tilt of plane

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
shadowed canyon of ridge across from it

TC said...

For those who might not have known, in addition to being an excellent poet, George is a genius designer; he and his wife Lucy do Blue Wind Press.