I am sorry you had to leave Reine


in response to Linda Ronstadt singing Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou”


alongside a Dag Hol painting of Reine, Lofoten, when unfinished


I am sorry you had to leave Reine

You could not stay with me, a middle-aged
woman of the fjord, who from birth has never left
her hamlet, living here on a shore at the base
of this jagged new mountain, where fresh clouds are not stroked up,
but come and go, where stars, the moon, and snow counter
winter noon when the thousands, like you, have come and gone–
to a world where imaginary replicas of my psyche get studied

in cozy jet-set universities. You cannot see me now so far away
from you. And I would not enter your red-bottomed oil.
A chasm’s mantra wall of molten marble would have come
between me and my focus. Nor could seafarers coax
me into their crafts, with bottoms only the painted-on lipstick red
of waiting souls and bodies–how ships and art take on
their captains’ fantasies, cool vessels that calmly fall off the far

edge of the earth and its realities each day.
Here in the great North, the world funnels up, small enough
for any traveller’s vision to fit, and like fluid brick all fit
together. So I would not go into Reine for the proceedings
when my mother died. My red lava feet would have chilled
to pipegray. My steps would have become watery, then airy with
a summer’s skyblue, my head following ghosts through openings

in clouds. My shoes would be like yours, permanently separated
from the blood. Look at them. You cannot have your molten feet back:
how you look for the crescent moon, the way you think it chases–
then waits on–some circling midnight sun for light. I remain here
and real, not art nor a paragraph like you seem to want to be.
Ask yourself how far away must a midnight sun be to leave the crescent
on the sky. It is not on the horizon. We will never get there.



October 8, 2006

note: for “Reine” say “RAY-neh”






6 responses to “I am sorry you had to leave Reine”

  1. Have you done some work to it since I last saw this? Anyway, it’s even better. Really an inspired work.

    I have a view of Reine on as my computer wallpaper… it never ceases to take my breath away, even after all these weeks.

  2. Hi Peter,

    Thanks for coming by.

    I did a little work that I would have put up at NC, but that forum seems gone now–and made decisions to keep a couple lines the way they were that had a few readers scratching their heads, like where visions fit together.

    I have a Lake Tahoe theme on my desktop now. Several times, while trying to explain what the natural beauty of Reine is like, I would ask if they had been on Lake Tahoe. There are at least similar impressions while on waters of the lake and the fjord. Although differences are striking. A tourist’s tour of Lake Tahoe does not happen on the mail delivery boat to the remote corners, as with the fjord at Reine. Reine is quite the place–kept me off balance there, the way its beauty is everpresent.


  3. Wow…I love this poem for its eloquence and for its quality of reflection on something distance yet close at the same time.

    I didn’t know you wrote poetry, Bud. Amazing work 🙂 And that picture…so blue and calm.

    I enjoyed reading this, and thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi M,

    Very nice of you to come by. Thanks for reading. And I appreciate your comment.

    You said “something distance yet close at the same time.” Being in Reine this past summer, that’s a good way of putting it. In Lofoten, everything seems so close. I got to take a mountain as personally as the boat I would be on, or the wave splashing against it. And the colors, right, the blue and all. It was fabulous. And the recluse I only heard of, she seems close to me.

    Thanks again.


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