A selection from the 2014 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize The Uncallused Hand by Walker Abel. Recently named a Finalist in the Foreword Review Book of the Year Awards.
Reluctant Farewell at a Small Sierran Lake
My whole life I’ve been a walker in rains
carrying some small sorrow
like a wren in cupped hands.
I’ve kept to gossamer trails of deer
coots calling from marsh
and light drops hitting lake with a thousand rings.
If this has been burden
it has bowed me down
like trees under sparkling dust of snow.
Look, you say, there are clouds in the lake
lakes in the clouds—
everything’s in everything else.
Oh, please, not now
that tale of oneness
praising ocean to discount the wave.
Water drips from your raven hair
making even mountains moan
when at last they must turn and go.
About the Author: Walker Abel lives in a remote home in the Yolla Bolly Mountains of northern California. As an undergraduate at University of California, Santa Cruz, in the mid-70’s, he participated in an environmental studies field program called Sierra Institute. Twelve years later, after completing a graduate program with ecopsychology pioneer Robert Greenway, he came back to teach for Sierra Institute, which he has done now for 26 years, while also taking on the role of director since 2003. Most of his poetry has been written in field journals while out on these academic programs, which are 9 weeks long and are entirely taught during a series of backpacking trips. It has not been unusual for Walker to teach three programs a year, amounting to a total of up to 6 months in the backcountry. One of his greatest joys is watching each new group of students open over time to the transformative influence of wilderness immersion. Walker has a 33 year old son (Stuart), who is also an ecopsychologist, backpacker, and nature-connection educator.
The Uncallused Hand
Poems by Walker Abel
Winner of the 2014 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize!
Release Date: September 29, 2014
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About the Book: This is poetry kindled by weeks in wilderness. Its muse is nature, which encompasses both the wild beauty of earth and the mystery of self and its sometimes erotic, sometimes mystical, relationship with the other. The poems are lyrical, tonal, evocative–enamored in a sensual way of being, but also drawn at times toward the counterpart of non-being. The palpable world of natural detail is brought forth, yet the poems also echo with nuance, innuendo, archetype, and both meditative as well as enraptured levels of realization.