78. Wren and Whale Surrender

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78 in a series of 99 neo-barroco haibun written after Ramón Gomez de la Serna. This one inspired by E. Richard Atleo’s book Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview. The holistic way of thinking seems to be so natural in my own thought, yet I know there is much that has addled my way of being in the world thanks to the industry-generated-culture in which I live. Just existing in it requires some level of facility and, in many ways, that is antithetical to the kind of unity and interconnectedness I sense in the Tsawalk approach.

I feel very fortunate to have interviewed Richard Atleo and, as always, welcome your thoughts about this poem.

About Splabman

SPLAB and Cascadia Poetry Festival founder Paul E Nelson wrote American Sentences (Apprentice House, 2015), Organic Poetry (VDM Verlag, Germany, 2008), a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, Washington, A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (Lumme, Brazil, 2013). Founder of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, in 26 years of radio he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, Brenda Hillman, George Bowering, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg & others, including many Cascadia poets. He lives in Seattle and writes at least one American Sentence every day. https://www.paulenelson.com. Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia, he is in year five of a twenty year Cascadia Bioregional Cultural Investigation. www.CascadiaPoetryFestival.org (Oct 12-15, 2017, Tacoma, WA)
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2 Responses to 78. Wren and Whale Surrender

  1. Carol Blackbird Edson says:

    Hi Paul,
    Such important themes! I can sense the spiritual adventure in this poetry – when I visited Chief Sealth’s grave and meditated a few years ago, I heard his voice speaking, he said ,” You must Care for the Land.” I wonder if you were supposed to get lost in the Olympics, in the good way, to be shaken by the immensity, the primacy of it. And get rescued by angels so you can write these poems 😉

    • Splabman says:


      You’re very kind to say this, thank you. I believe the Lost in the Woods sage was an unintentional vision quest, yes. I’d like to see that spot again before I die, the place where I stayed for several days awaiting a helicopter.

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