The Sun Has Set

The sun has set here in Des Moines, and the light sprinkles of rain have turned to a freezing sleat (wonderful!). News has come though that a friend of a friend passed last week. His name was John Haines, and he has lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for many years. John once shared a meal with a past teacher of mine, and although it was years ago the lasting connection still cause reflection to the power that touched him deeply. He is now able to reflect to me and others the great power that was once bestowed upon him, so that we may go and read his essays (Three Days from The Snow, The Stars, The First is being read in a class tomorrow) and poems, as well as view some paintings that he completed (before moving to Alaska from New York, because he was unable to get supplies).

“He was often alone and sometimes with one of five wives or a girlfriend, most of whom quickly tired of the wilderness — or his famously cantankerous personality.”  NYT


Here’s an article from the New York Times about John, Poet information, Poem: Ice Child, Another Tribute, and a 1998 Poem Titled ” The American Dream”.

Fairbanks Under The Soltice (John Haines)

Slowly, without sun, the day sinks
toward the close of December.
It is minus sixty degrees.

Over the sleeping houses a dense
fog rises—smoke from banked fires,
and the snowy breath of an abyss
through which the cold town
is perceptibly falling.

As if Death were a voice made visible,
with the power of illumination...

Now, in the white shadow
of those streets, ghostly newsboys
make their rounds, delivering
to the homes of those
who have died of the frost
word of the resurrection of Silence.

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