The Basic Con
Those who can’t find anything to live for,
always invent something to die for.
Then they want the rest of us to
die for it, too.
Copyright © 1979 by Lew Welch. From Ring of Bone: Collected Poems 1950-1971, Grey Fox Press.
It happens, at times,
That the route becomes beautiful
The incline gentle and the landscape rich
And on the heavy air the smell of growing things
We think the secret hidden in the land
Or month or year
Or traced upon the chart by which we go,
But do not tinker so with subtleties
You brush the secret with your hand,
As the arm swings, striding.
Gone, you’ll know how much more real her absence is
With sound of her that’s missing now in every sound
With walk of her that’s missing now in every passer-by
Few things that grow here poison us.
Most of the animals are small.
Those big enough to kill us do it in a way
Easy to understand, easy to defend against.
The air, here, is just what the blood needs.
We don’t use helmets or special suits.
The image, as in a Hexagram:
The hermit locks his door against the blizzard.
He keeps the cabin warm.
All winter long he sorts out all he has.
What was well started shall be finished.
What was not, should be thrown away.
In spring he emerges with one garment
and a single book.