Kyger, Joanne

United States, (b. 1934)

The Pigs for Circe in May

  1. I almost ruined the stew and Where
  2. is my peanut butter sandwich I tore through the back of the car
  3. I could not believe
  4. there was One slice of my favorite brown bread and my stomach and
  5. I jammed the tin foil and bread wrappers into the stew
  6. and no cheese and I simply could not believe
  7. and you never
  8. TALK when my friends are over.
  9.  
  10. This is known as camping at Yosemite.
  11.  
  12. Already I wish there was something done.
  13. Odysseus found a stag on his way to the ship
  14. I think of people sighing over poetry, using it,               I
  15. don’t know what it’s for. Well,
  16.  
  17. Hermes forewarned him.   Can you imagine
  18. those lovely beasts all tame   prancing around him?
  19.  
  20. She made a lot of pigs too.
  21.  
  22. I like pigs. Cute feet, cute nose, and I think
  23.  
  24. some spiritual value investing them. A man and his pig together,
  25. rebalancing the pure in them, under each other’s arms, bathing,
  26. eating it.
  27.  
  28. And when the time came, she did right
  29. let them go
  30. They couldn’t see her when she came back
  31. from the ship, seating themselves and wept, the wind
  32. took them directly north, all day
  33. into the dark.
  34.  
  35. at least they were moving again
  36.  
  37. Sometimes I just go hobbling up and say
  38. Just a little Food, please.   Usually a piece of bacon or toast
  39. the coffee curling up in the pine groves of Yosemite.
  40. There is a rock wall
  41. in the night
  42. animals and something hot and dank on the sand trail
  43. in the sun;
  44. waste
  45. Odysseus went down and got his comrades
  46.  
  47. ‘Circe says it’s ok to stay.’
  48. And they were freely bathed and wined.
  49. She had a lot of maids and a staid housekeeper.
  50. I mean, I admire her.   The white robes
  51. and keeping busy
  52. She fed her animals
  53. wild acorns, and men crying inside
  54. with a voice like a woman
  55. from the sun and the ocean
  56. She is busy at the center, planning out great
  57. stories to amuse herself, and a lot of pets,
  58. a neat household, gracious
  59. honey and wine
  60. She offers.
  61. Purple linen on the chairs
  62. Odysseus mopes
  63. ‘Oh, I’ll give you your bores back’   They weep to see each other
  64. a black ram
  65. and a young ewe and the ship to hell
  66. where Persephone has left only one man with reason
  67. She doesn’t hold them back
  68. a young man dies
  69. that is his fault.
  70. And she asked him to stay
  71. climbing all day
  72. pushing
  73. strewn with boulders
  74. the great leap it makes
  75. into space, giddy he rushes at her
  76. the roar he makes
  77. on the wide shelf bed
  78. they both watch over the edge
  79.  
  80. and the Great Pigs waddle off in the sky—

© Joanne Kyger. The Tapestry and the Web. Four Seasons Foundation, (1965).

About the Poet

Joanne Kyger (b. 1934) is an American poet and writer. Her poetry is influenced by her practice of Zen Buddhism and her ties to the poets of Black Mountain, the San Francisco Renaissance, and the Beat generation.

Kyger studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before moving to San Francisco, in 1957, and becoming involved with the poetry scene around Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan.

Kyger has published more than twenty books of poetry and prose, including Going On: Selected Poems, 1958–1980, (1983); and, Just Space: poems, 1979-1989 (1991). She has lived in Bolinas, California since 1968, where she has edited the local newspaper. She has also done some occasional teaching at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics of the Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado. [condensed from Wikipedia, DES-11/10]

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