Poems by Kristopher Drummond
I never expected to write poetry.
In fact, I used to mock it in my high school English classes. The stuffy forms, the lofty, inaccessible language, the relentless digging for critical meaning, it all felt removed from the life moving in my body. The joke was on me, then, when the world delivered me back to poetry after a decade of rupture, travel, and spiritual searching.
One day the words started coming with overwhelming urgency, mostly in wild places. I could feel them building like wind bellowing through the mountains that hasn’t quite arrived and I quickly realized that if I didn’t stop what I was doing and listen, I’d miss something important. The cliches have come true - poems arriving in the shower, driving down the highway near a cemetery, on mountains at sunset. And also, poems from unexpected places; clear cuts, animal carcases along roadways, strip malls, plastic bottles lining a river.
As I’ve learned to meet life on its terms, I’ve recognized that love insists on seeing everything. My muse is most fulfilled by looking and feeling fully, and the prayer “don’t look away” returns often to remind me. Don’t look away from what my life costs, from my complicity in this great dying, from the grief and wonder and possibility of being alive in the Sixth Extinction.
For seven years poetry has been a mirror, reflecting back to me my own waking up to life on earth, as it is. It’s been a journey into and through grief, which is actually love. These poems are filled with my love for life and people and the wild world. I grew up in the wild, going camping for the first time at six weeks old. It’s where I feel most at home and what my life is dedicated to hearing and serving. And as I witness with each passing year the dying, droughting forests and rivers of my youth, I know I must try to keep seeing.
I do my best. Amidst the distractions and dopamine addictions of mainstream society, I try to be a human who chooses feeling. I fail often, and I think there’s a place for that, too. For that reason some of these poems are about how hard being human sometimes is.
Publishing this book is a rite of passage, a record of a decade-long death and rebirth and a stepping into the next chapter. It’s divided into four primary themes: Endings, Revolution, Soulmaking, and Homecoming, with a brief Invocations section dedicated to the people and themes that marked the beginning of this lifelong journey toward Home. I also added the places where these poems came from - my growing suspicion is that the land is responsible for the deep feelings and moments that my mind turns to words and I want to honor that truth.
My hope is that all of these pieces bring the solace of permission; that they illuminate ways of deeply meeting each other and the world in these paradoxical times and point to the soft space in our hearts that knows how to love, no matter what comes.