For Kenneth Rexroth, 1905-1982

George Woodcock

Hearing you were dead,
I went out to
look at mountains.
Forty years
we had been friends,
writing between cities,
meeting in cities,
talking of anarchist
persons and principles
and never climbing
a mountain together.
Yet all it meant
was mountains, and always
in your poems
the mountains rose, bright
as freedom, crystalline
as science. Kenneth,
you were like Shaw. None
of your friends liked you.
They loved and sometimes
hated, and were held
in the spell of a
harsh voice reading
lines as crystal as
runnels of sweet water
under the flower-edged
snowfields of the
High Sierra.