Few and Far Between cover photo
  • Series: Modern & Contemporary 48
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-916272-61-6
  • ISBN-10: 0-916272-61-3
  • Pages: 84
  • Size: 6 x 8.5 x .3125 in
  • Price: $9.95

Few and Far Between

Dick Barnes

From Robert Mezey’s introduction: “A lot of [Dick Barnes’s] poems are about work. Other poets think they know what work is; Barnes really does know, he has been there. He comes from people who worked very hard all their lives, he himself works hard, loves work, and sees its beauty and dignity as well as its tedium without sentimentality or special pleading or humorless resentment. And when he writes about the oppressed and the outcast, it is with passion and understanding, but utterly without self-righteousness; he is not using them for his spiritual pleasure or for cheap vatic thrills or for basking in his own virtue. The poems don’t require that you do anything; there is nothing you can do but mourn.”

 

The full text of Dick Barnes’s Few and Far Between is stored at Albertson Library at Boise State University, and can be downloaded here. You may also purchase a copy of the book.

Alluvium: A Reply

 

Somewhere two rivers rush together at the foot of a scarp,

meander over a coastal plateau, then down a barranca

 

the rio caudal plunges into its deep estuary

and huge canyons under the sea. But here

 

on this nearly level delta wide as the eye can see

streams mingle and separate, some sweet, some brack

 

some sink under their own silt, are lost in the arrowweed

where a curve of current earlier carved the bank

 

some dwindle down sloughs under poplar or willow,

the heron's home, some into quicksand, and

 

nothing is turning out the way you thought it would be,

nothing.

 

Copyright © 1994 by Dick Barnes

Dick Barnes (1932–2000) was born in San Bernardino and raised in the mountains and desert of Eastern California. A first collection of poetry, A Lake on the Earth, was published by Momentum Press in 1982; other books include A Pentecostal and The Real Time Jazz Band Songbook, published by II l'a Done Fait, and translations from the Anglo-Saxon (The Cotton Gnomic Poem, Grabhorn-Hoyem), Middle English (the Cloud-author's Benjamin Minor, Mellen) and Spanish (Three Spanish Sacramental Plays, Chandler); in collaboration with Robert Mezey he translated the collected poems of Jorge Luis Borges for Viking Penguin.