The Marin Poetry Center held a memorial for Linda Gregg last week that was very moving. Forrest Gander spoke of visiting her in New York in her small, very spare apartment near St. Marks Place. She had just gotten home after a chemo treatment, and had no one, as he said, to make her a bowl of soup or a cup of tea. But she was uncomplaining.
It made me think of this poem of hers:
I grew up with horses and poems when that was the time for that. Then Ginsberg and Orlovsky in the Fillmore West when everybody was dancing. I sat in the balcony with my legs pushed through the railing, watching Janis Joplin sing.
Two amazing poets died this week, W. S. Merwin and Linda Gregg. I have posted several of Merwin’s poems before. Somehow though, I never have posted a poem by Linda Gregg. Here’s a sample:
Death Looks Down
Death looks down on the salmon A male and female in two pools one above the other The female turns back along the path of water to the male does not touch him and returns to the place she had been I know what Death will do Their bodies already sour and ragged Blood has risen to the surface under the scales One side of his jaw is unhinged Death will pick them up Put them away under his coat against his skin and belt them there He will walk away up to the path through the bay trees Through the dry grass of California to where the mountain begins Where a few deer almost the color of the hills will look up until he is under the trees again Where the road ends and there is a gate He will climb over that with his treasure It will be dark by then But for now, he does nothing He does not disturb the silence at all Nor the occasional sound of leaves of ferns touching of grass or stream For now he looks down at the salmon Large and whole Motionless days and nights in the cold water Lying still Always facing the constant motion