Lucy Kogler Remembers Jim Harrison
I will always think of him as a poet first
You can keep your pretty, clever boys… a dime a dozen. I was entranced by the short, one-eyed voluptuary Jim Harrison.
Equally rapturous of all things natural—including a woman’s fanny—all things of the vine and earth, all ideas, he embodied the capaciousness of one who paid attention to everything. Will I forgive him for writing in Wolf: A False Memoir that he didn’t like tall women? I will now.
All of his writing was smart and beautiful, even when brutal. Returning to Earth was transcendent. All of his poetry mattered to me. I think of him as a poet first. When a dear friend died a few years ago I read this poem by Harrison at his memorial.
Today, it’s for JH.
Is it better to rake all the leaves
in one’s life into a pile
or leave them scattered? That’s a good question
as questions go, but then they’re easier to burn
in one place. The years take their toll,
our lives, to be exact. We burn without fire
and without effort so slowly the wick of this lamp
seems endless. And then the fire is out,
a hallowed time. And those who took the light
with them pull us slowly toward their breasts.
I will have a glass of Margaux (a favorite of his, too) and salute him. Rest—the earth, land, water, sky, and animals will take care of you.
Oh, and thanks.
Watch: A few months before Jim Harrison’s death, Grove Atlantic associate publisher Judy Hottensen was able to spend the day with the award-winning writer.