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Reading “Middle of the Way” by Galway Kinnell



Poetry Lunch S2E11

Reading “Middle of the Way” by Galway Kinnell from News of the Universe, edited by Robert Bly and published by Sierra Club Books.


I was deep in trail details last night reviewing itineraries for Wild Society backpacking trips next year—and goodness are they lovely details to delve in. Backpacking is hard and often uncomfortable but it gets you places you never forget. Grand vistas yes but also a million small moments on the way, like Kinnell’s woodpecker watching him wayfind, and the sound of snow falling off branches.

I love the alertness in this poem, and the comfort it rests in. Comfort with not knowing, comfort with being on the earth in a basic way, comfort even in naming all that we don’t know. The vast and wild darkness one can love from.

Makes me think of the little fortune on the tea bag from one of the many cups of tea I drank yesterday between coughing fits: Your greatest strength is love.

I like thinking about love as strength. And confidence in the cold. When I read the line “Concocted a little fire in the darkness.” I immediately thought of poetry being the fire, and writing it being the act of concocting. I am so grateful to the poets who keep working to keep us warm.

Wishing you much happy news bypassing your brain.


Link to purchase

Get the book: News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness.