Thursday, June 26, 2008


The genius that is American writer, Raymond Carver...

While post upon post can be written about Carver's life and work, let's just say that for all intents and purposes, his simplistic, yet utterly effective prose will send shivers down many a spine. He wasn't only one of the world's finest writers of short fiction, but also one of its most large-hearted and affecting poets.

Like Carver's stories, the more than 300 poems are marked by a keen attention to the physical world. His unflinching talent compressed vast feelings into three or four words and was truly a voice of conversational intimacy. The best aspect of all of his writing, however, was that he knew when to stop at the most precise moment.

Enjoy this Saturday's poem ... It's filled with a staggering sense of dread. Let's hope none of us have to go through something like this.

What The Doctor Said

He said it doesn't look good
he said it looks bad in fact real bad
he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before
I quit counting them
I said I'm glad I wouldn't want to know
about any more being there than that
he said are you a religious man do you kneel down
in forest groves and let yourself ask for help
when you come to a waterfall
mist blowing against your face and arms
do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments
I said not yet but I intend to start today
he said I'm real sorry he said
I wish I had some other kind of news to give you
I said Amen and he said something else
I didn't catch and not knowing what else to do
and not wanting him to have to repeat it
and me to have to fully digest it
I just looked at him
for a minute and he looked back it was then
I jumped up and shook hands with this man who'd just given me
something no one else on earth had ever given me
I may have even thanked him habit being so strong

-- Raymond Carver

Poetry Collections
Near Klamath (1968)
Winter Insomnia (1970)
At Night The Salmon Move (1976)
Where Water Comes Together
with Other Water (1985)
Ultramarine (1986)
A New Path To The Waterfall (1989)

Poetry Compilations
In a Marine Light: Selected Poems (1988)
All of Us: The Collected Poems (1996)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, wow. That's great. I went through a similar situation with an uncle of mine, actually. They really do quit counting.

    Honored by the link, by the way--even if I hate gin.


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