Maturing reflections on a changing world.
Uncertain as always
whether this republic is past saving
or whether some of us still tread
the perilous path of the future
part of me just meditates
on the new and more flourishing wildlife
that is improving Point Reyes
ten years after the Mount Vision fire
From the glories of the Tang Dynasty
I recall only one date: the year
the usurper An Lushan
drove both Wang Wei and Du Fu
far from the corrupt court
into the mountains
where for the first time they were free
to write the only poems we remember.
(excerpt from "The Tao of 9/11")
Working always to connect the polemical to the personal, Peter Dale Scott's political poems - from the tear gas of Berkeley protests in the 1960s to the problems of Thai forest monks in an era of drug-trafficking and deforestation - are a process of self-questioning. Self-questioning also marks his meditation poems, including a sequence on the death of his first wife.
In opposition to contemporary poems of studied meaninglessness, Scott increasingly recognizes a compulsion in himself to radically reaffirm traditional rejections of the external world and turn to the refuges of poets before him, the enduring commonplaces that are more than cliches.