from a Dorothea Lasky lecture

When I was 19, I visited a friend in Pennsylvania, and we took a trip to the Poconos and stayed in a little family house in the woods. I used to run a lot. It was a compulsion then to run at least two hours a day and I ran through the woods one day, a teenager from the non-wild suburbs, with no fears of what animals I might encounter. I only noticed the large and overpowering trees for much of the time.

As I ran and ran, a giant stag burst in on my path. In my memory, its antlers were the size of a house as it ran through and past me. It was likely over 300 pounds. It never occurred to me then that it could’ve killed me and it only maybe occurs to me now. It ran so fast, it was an illusion, the way it broke in quietly and then it was gone. It never made a sound. There is no sound in my memory.

Is this like ghosts and are beastly ghosts an illusion too? Is it true that the deer and the dachshund really are one? Maybe this deer came into my life in that moment to be my Ars poetica.

Out of a clearing, the poem comes into your everyday life, it surprises you. It goes and come in and then it is gone. Like an amethyst can be a purple wonderland from inside the rock, so too can the deer emerge from the forest and then go back into it again. So too can a poem burst out and then go away. It has its own force and so be it.