The Mystery of the Hunt

By Michael McClure b. 1932 Michael McClure
It’s the mystery of the hunt that intrigues me,
                   That drives us like lemmings, but cautiously—
The search for a bright square cloud—the scent of lemon verbena—
                    Or to learn rules for the game the sea otters
                                      Play in the surf.
 
                  It is these small things—and the secret behind them
                                    That fill the heart.
                        The pattern, the spirit, the fiery demon
                                That link them together
                      And pull their freedom into our senses,
 
             The smell of a shrub, a cloud, the action of animals
 
         —The rising, the exuberance, when the mystery is unveiled.
                                 It is these small things
 
                   That when brought into vision become an inferno.


Michael McClure, "The Mystery of the Hunt" from Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2011 by Michael McClure.  Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems (University of California Press, 2011)

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Poet Michael McClure b. 1932

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Subjects Living, Life Choices, Nature, Animals, Religion, The Spiritual

 Michael  McClure

Biography

Beat poet, playwright, novelist, and documentary filmmaker Michael McClure was born in Marysville, Kansas, and raised there and in Seattle. Educated at the University of Wichita, the University of Arizona, and San Francisco State College—where he studied with poet Robert Duncan—he gave his first poetry reading in 1955 alongside Allen Ginsberg.

McClure’s poetry combines spontaneity, typographical experimentation, Buddhist . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, Nature, Animals, Religion, The Spiritual

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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