05 January 2006

I dedicate this poem to my many friends about to take away a newly-minted MFA

[Maurice Manning from A Companion for Owls]

Advice to Rovers

The service of a hunting shirt, a knife
whose heft is rightly balanced, a tinderbox
that fits the hand—necessities, besides
a horse and difficult geography
for anyone who seeks deliverance
from the measures of the world, the social weave.
Resolve to think in terms more loose. Make plans
to reach Missouri country by the fall,
for instance; and maintain your plan despite
impunity which surely will occur,
likely, in the form of rain or wavering.
The very crudeness of your scheme bespeaks
its strength. You will acquire the look of one
whose enterprise does not depend on gold,
which may include no shoes, long hair, and soot.
You can make salt; you can make peace among
the Indians. Do not disdain your lack
of native lights: you have the moon and stars
and fireflies dancing bright against the dark.

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