Northern Lights

–Jim Harrison “After Ikkyu and Other Poems”


I embrace the fact that I’ll never understand the universe
like I did for the first time from our roof at nineteen.
A miniature kensho,
fueled by love at first sight. We belonged to each other, children
who stared in awe at the northern lights and floated
on the milky way’s convulsive drift.
A lone star perched on the mountain’s saddle now brings
tears of remembrance.

Brocken Inaglory [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (, from Wikimedia Commons
[…When reading Jim Harrison’s poem, I found each time I read “stared in fear at the northern lights” my heart objected. I long to see the  Northern Lights and to experience the fear (awe) sites like that engender. Changing the sense of that phrase compelled me to reinterpret the sense of the original.]



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  1. Loved the contrast in yours and Harrison’s take on the Moment! It highlights the brilliance of you both.

    And Miniature Kensho (a small step on the path of enlightenment) : What i like about Enlightenment is that it is just a path to wander for each person. Per Buddhism, none get to the end. So the real truth is about where we choose to get off. But when we get off, we carry the memory of that part of the journey that suits our unique Us. Clearly, Harrison got off too soon, else he may have written your words. But then, he wouldn’t be the Harrison i love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So profound! Respect not only each person’s journey, but also where they stop. Without the Harrisons there would be no grains of sand causing pearls to be formed. Perfection is in itself imperfect, thus imperfection is, well, perfect.


  2. Lone stars with humbling and expansive perspectives. Love them both.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennifer Franks May 14, 2016 — 2:38 pm

    As many world wonders there are like this, I still find it the highest privilege to peek into a beautiful soul like yours. Maybe you will come up north to see me sometime. I enjoy your writing and perspective. xo – J

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just spent more time with this. Gets me right where I can be got.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful image and emotion well conveyed. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your blog is so wonderful, love your sensitive pictures and poetical words !
    Lieben Gruss, Patricia

    Liked by 1 person

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