I first met Keith in the mid seventies. He was humble, approachable and human even as he carried an immense spirit. He was a mentor to me, from my very first publication, the last song, which came out from a small press: Puerto Del Sol Press, located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, his home.
Don't ever under estimate the power of mentorship. Sometimes you don't have to say much at all, it's just the belief, the care, the attention that waters and feeds the gift. He was there. He was always there. And I believe, despite his passing yesterday, he will always be there in the realm of poetry, which is the realm of the night sky and where it meets dawn. This remains one of my favorite poems of Keith's, and I responded to it in She Had Some Horses.
Travel well, Keith. We'll meet on the other side, again.
Thantog: Songs of a Jaguar Priest
by Keith Wilson
Into these restless days enter one precious
knowing always the impotence
hours bring, the sadness, coming just after
light, moments, the touch of wind, the chill
O, I have dreamed the thousand dreams, known
softly the nights turn walking into victories
shared only by the moon
I wish somehow I could tell you or tell myself
O darling of the light, mistress of the night,
words hold mockery and high villainies: a word.
Love. A meaning, "I want you," in most languages,
the same. In English we discriminate, knowing
the subtleties of longing better with colder blood:
it is possible to love and not want, to drive
our bones with skeletal needs, biting our own tendons
loose to at last walk free.