Inspired by the drawings of Rockwell Kent included in the autobiographical collection Wilderness: A journal of quiet adventure in Alaska

“Zaruthstra himself led the ugliest man by the hand, in order to show him his night-world and the great round moon and the silvery waterfalls nigh unto his cave”

for the first time

calm this late summer day
departing Seward
September 1918
in oar driven dory
the artist and son
“on a dreamer’s search”
across southward
facing bay
opening upon
“limitless, Pacific Ocean”
for some forgotten shelter
on the shores of
a lost coast

then enter
in motor-driven dory
one old Norweigen
call him Olsen or Zaruthstra
if you prefer
without hesitation
a tow line thrown
an insistent invitation
“come and I show you the place to live”
a carefully cleared cove
and three cabins
home to Angoras, bluefox
and now
a man and a boy
guests for the old man
in “his night-world beside
the great round moon
and the silvery waterfalls”


or better yet
blind to realities such as
by the return of the sun
so easily forgotten in coastal
lithe carver’s arms
raised skyward
a great inhalation
of direct sunlight
eyes squinting
to filter
golden reflection
from rough water
long underwear
tucked into high boots

Kent stands
and log cabin
hands which created
such mythical landscapes
with ink and wood
did much to tame
the wild from the


Read more, Poems for Kent

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