Into The Dark Wood

In an recent online chat with someone he asked, after seeing some of my youtube clips if I made a living as a poet. I told him no and he asked why I bother. I told him writing is what keeps me living – simple as that. He sort of understood & then asked what I did do for a living & told him that was none of his business. If my dick was only delicious because I had a ‘real’ job I wasn’t interested.


At a reading series not too long ago a young poet asked me about being published – more, why I wasn’t so pressured about getting into print. Basically I’m too lazy, I was always too lazy. Even when I was eager for print – getting that first book published by Fiddlehead was a rush – I quickly discovered that the ladder to continued to literary success was beset, and in some ways besot, by academic achievement. BA MA PhD in fine arts, creative writing major, or some such.


The notion that the quality of my writing was going to be measured mainly by where I got a diploma with honors & who I studied with, as opposed to the actual writing didn’t appeal to me.

I’ve had conversations end when I tell people I’ve have no university background. Not that I haven’t done various workshops now and then, here and there, with accomplished, awarded and well-respected writers but name dropping for respect isn’t for me.


The canto below is from my Dante cycle – I read each canto one day and the next day dashed off what it had stirred up in me. I had to dig into my archive to find the set of these & am still looking – files that I go back so long ago Pages no longer recognizes the old Appleworks formatting. I guess I should have taken pics of the cave walls when I first glyphed these pieces 🙂



canto 1 

is this the dark wood

not really lost but in the thick of something

not looking for a way in or out


the scrabble of day to day

unaware and purposeless

patterns followed

the chopping and hewing is

the illusion that toil

can produce more meaning

than wandering the dark wood

it is not the bleak night of the soul

but a time of exploration

of discovery without seeking

no decisions need to be made

decision have claws

to rend the light and dark

to tear out the heart of the matter

and leave

the wanderer wounded


finally feels the full

pain of being alone

the endless pattern of days of the week

times to eat sleep

not a flow but a strict routine

one tick after the other

caught in the cogs of the universal clock

that turns and grinds

bones into rust

faces into smears of apprehension

the wanderer now has knowledge

the carefree sense of exploration

has been replaced with expectation

with dreams pumped out by

the race against the next sunrise

who will reach the pack the first

the swirl of accomplishments

erases all traces of the past

the future looms an impossible

impassable series of expectations

and forced moves

if I don’t do this I am doomed

damned to repeat unfavorable

unprofitable routines

forced to experience and re-experience

disappointments and spiritual vacuums

the dark wood appears in a flash

I turn a corner and

am thrust into it

not even seeking to wander

one is cast adrift to wander

to experience fear

the fear takes over

becomes the new sun

the new air

all I can breath is this fever of uncertainly


no trees can be seen

in the foggiest notions of hope

from the mist

Verlaine appears

a stunning fraction of clarity

who must be followed

before the dark thicket

crushes me

once and for all.

into the woods
into the woods

One thought on “Into The Dark Wood

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