Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Happy Belated Birthday to Barry Gifford

October 23

by Seven Stories

Happy belated birthday (it was the 18th) to Barry Gifford, one of America's most enduring and inspiring storytellers—in novels from Landscape with Traveler to Wild at Heart to The Up-Down,  in pioneering oral history biographies like Jack's Book, and collections of stories and poems, constantly renewing the heart and the dark side of the American dream and the American reality.

Here's a new poem by BG, printed here by permission of the author.

Blood Moon in February

Here I am wasting time again

writing poems to keep myself company—

The Chinese masters of the T'ang dynasty

thought the same, but mostly 

they were rural government functionaries

or already collecting a pension,

out of favor with the emperor—

So they drank rice wine

and kept their opinions to themselves,

sneaking hidden meanings into poems

they knew only a very few people

would read during their lifetime—

Who cares about a barking dog

nobody sees, or what kind of bird

sings just before light—

Only in darkness do my thoughts

cohere, vagrant ghosts

passing in dreams, difficult

if not impossible to find again—

Perhaps there never was anything 

to worry about, and now know

when the dog barks or the bird sings

there aren't any thoughts

worth keeping

Recent posts