Kansas Heritage Group]

Beats In Kansas: The Beat Generation in the Heartland

The Moon Eye and other poems


by Dave Haselwood

Dave Haselwood was part of the group centered at Wichita High School East in the late 1940s that included artist/film maker Bruce Conner and Beat poet Michael McClure.

At the University of Wichita he majored in English and was the editor of the first three issues of the Sunflower Literary Review (1954). Later, after a tour of duty in the Army in Germany, he settled in San Francisco and became the publisher of the Auerhahn Press, printing works by such Beat writers as Burroughs, Lamantia, McClure, Olson, Whalen, Ginsberg, and others. In more recent years he has studied to become a Buddhist monk; written by Lee Streiff

On Looking at Photographs of the Poets

What lies behind these smiling faces, caught
In a glaze of half-tone or daguerreotype?
Do not ask;
The mask is too complex to understand,
I will have said enough if I can tell

But this much,
That when a rose is pruned, its life cut back
Its blossoms with great intensity;
And new leaves
Grow larger with the concentration of
Its energy.

Your Lips

. . Your lips have improved the wind,
Wet from the river;
. . Called back the spring current,
From dry rock;
. . Unlocked the forbidden box.

. . Past all remembrance
. . You have recalled
. . Birth,
. . Foreshadowed death.

. . Your lips have left untended,
Fire on the mountain;
. . Released the trapped doves,
Wing wounded;
. . Destroyed the last testament.

Out of Three, One

Out of three, one;
Growing, the vegetable soul
Dies within the womb, succumbs
To hard flails of metal,
Wind molded;
And we have yet to see the other,
Glowing within the mortar
Transcend the economist’s light.

But I would know the quick burning,
Flesh upon flesh, melt through the core;
Break old rocks with new shoots,
Free the impenetrable seed.

The Transcendence

Pushed beyond flesh, I move
Grown beyond dust,
Burning the last refuse.
Yet you would confuse the search, demand
The unyielding will, transcend

But I would delay prime good
Finding within the mind
Fill old channels with new water.

Lament for Virtue Lost

Behind your eyes a great disgust
Grows in the morning light;
It was not there last night to blame
When eyes grown vague asked more than willingly you gave.

Is it that you are disappointed?
Or shall I suffer for having done
What you no longer could resist?
Recrimination is a pleasure I’ll forego.

You may lament for what is lost
Forget what great sophistication gained;
But do not ask me to give more
Than one faint sigh in passing; nor sing a minor tune.


What of the season’s cycle and its turning power,
Captured in molting leaf, revoked the chemic change
Of flowering from the fallow land. Growth the desire,
Death its natural seed; the earth cracks in its grasp
Wrenched into dust, which like an Indian summer snow
Melts to a nutrient flow across the fertile land.

Did cycle ever cease, the wheel turn to a stop?
Or has a trap been sprung which once wound up cannot
Run to an end? From solstice to a solstice,
From winter rain to summer sun, the race goes on;
And everything is in its power, the conflict shows
No grace and no exception leaves a slender hope.

And so I must accept the revolution of
Remembrance; of past sorrows constantly renewed.
The branch of memory entwines the growing tree and twists,
Each turn, another scar; each season scars again.
Do not forget this when you ask me to dissolve
Our love; death does not come without another growth.


The frozen smiles that speak farewell
Lips pressed against a glass that separates
You from —
There are no tears with which to wash
Away the journey’s dust of slow forgetting.

Three in August

Toward August
The brown turning of weeds,
The falling of spores as we sat
Watching the dust road,
The wind changed shadows.

The sun sank to the weeds;
Two remained.
I followed the path,
Choked by pollen;
Felt the wrenching of old webs
And was alone.

By a shrunken pool
Pushed back thought,
Saw the live mud driven by primeval spark
The eternal pairing of flesh.

The pool darkened
Trees shrank into shadow;
I lay insensible
Upon dry ferns,
By the dark wound.

The Moon Eye

Beneath the bloodless moon
Caught in a net of clouds like the eye of a fish;
In the slow wave wash of October wind,
I saw your face in light reflected on the sea,
Waver and spread in diamond fire.

It is the moonfish swimming in the waves
Which makes the flames leap in my mind,
Spreads fire into my fingers till they plunge
Into water. Crystal drops fall back,
Ring little bells in the face of the moon ...

Cold, cold the water, and the vision fades;
The fish eye sinks beneath a darker wave,
Drowns in the frozen sea.
A great emotion dies with the dying of the moon.

Prologue for the Winter Season

I have seen the grey birds,
Winter driven,
Whirling on the wind;
Felt the wet wounds of last snow
Gather and disappear in the sun;
Have heard the breath of November weeds
Where snow rests briefly
And wind birds fall,
Laugh and rebuke the prodigal’s search,
Cry the last catechism.

It is Enough

It is enough to remember, being tired,
The round roar of oceans in fog;
I can recall its sought sound and
Unfurl the grey wrapped heaven shell.

My eyes grow tired of season change
Being dimmed shadows and not shade.
I’ve enough of last year’s promised growth,
The insult renewed by Autumn’s rain.


My hair is matted and my flesh is torn,
No more my cleft foot pounding upon rock,
No more my long hair flying, born
Upon the wind, proud grey-eyed maidens mock.

For I am old and laugh no more
With wine stained lips, nor hold those bodies near
Which I was wont to hold before
Until they wielded to my thighs with fear.

No elegies shall grace my death
Nor coronals to wither on my tomb
But only summer’s weary breath
To sigh a dirge in passing for my doom.

Copyright, David Haselwood; all rights reserved.
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