Bill Holm’s Chain Letter of the Soul


Go stand by the fence.
Keep quiet.  The horses will come –
thirty, forty of them,
however many live and dine there.
They will put their long, narrow noses
one or two at a time
over the fence to nuzzle you,
maybe nibble on your shirt
or suck your finger.
They are watching you
with full attention.
You look curious to them:
docile and harmless.
They want to touch you, pet you,
see what skin feels like.
Don’t disappoint them.

From Chain Letter of the Soul, a volume of his New and Selected Works published near the time of his death in 2009.  I just ordered it – never heard of him until moments ago when I read four of his poems in Wildness and Captivity, an online journal edited by Mary Davis (of the Wildlands Project and Wild Earth fame, at least for me; oops: that Mary Davis died in early 2011) on a website new to me, Mythic Imagination. Here’s one more from Bill:

New Religion

This morning no sound but the loud
breathing of the sea.  Suppose that under
all that salt water lived the god
that humans have spent ten thousand years
trawling the heavens for.
We caught the wrong metaphor.
Real space is wet and underneath,
the church of shark and whale and cod.
The noise of those vast lungs
exhaling:  the plain chanting of monkfish choirs.
Heaven’s not up but down, and hell
is to evaporate in air.  Salvation,
to drown and breathe
forever with the sea.

About Jim

Night sky watcher; a mobile bit of earth's body. One foot lingering in Lower Cañoncito's piñon-juniper foothills at the southern tip of the Rockies, the edge of the Great Plains stretching away from the mouth of our little valley a couple miles downstream. The other foot re-rooting into the Land of the White Pines, home of my blood and bones, amidst the coastal plain and glacial hills and ponds of southern Maine, between the North Atlantic and the bones of the ancient Appalachian Mountains.

Posted on 2011/12/31, in Nourishing Words. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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