Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Shiki also wrote that the beginning poet should constantly take walks and travel all over, in every season. 

The subjects of his poems need not be restricted to famous places, however; if one looked about calmly and carefully, subjects could be found everywhere. 

Even in a little garden where one could take no more than than ten steps, the poet might find a new subject every day.  

Thus, it was not the poem-journey itself that was the absolute value, but the observation of nature:  the former was the means to the latter.


A lot of my walking lately is done in my mind and I think I do it to relieve other nagging concerns that just won't quit. 

I walk in my sleep and talk in my sleep, but it’s fine because, as Shiki says, walking reveals and illuminates.

Walking the dogs tonight, I noticed how our tree array in the pre-summer evening light looks like the cover of the Yale Younger Poets edition of John Ashbery’s Some Trees I used to own, a book that once meant so much to me.


  1. This is so in sync with what I was thinking today. I generally walk along the same street in The District, as they call it here. Yet, every day, I'm struck by something new, sometimes something quite minute, like the sun casting a slightly different shadow through a cloud. These walks make me very happy. Love the Fats tune. Nell

  2. I think Shiki's point, while it's one that others have made, really resonates. The photos here are by Weldon Kees and appear in his work Nonverbal Communication. I'm always up and moving around early. At one point I tried to record my first spoken word of the day, but that got silly. It was usually "Hello Rose" (spoken to my cat and office companion). When I'm alone in the house for a couple of days, it's amazing how much walking and how little speaking I do. Curtis