John Haines, a great Alaska poet that was lost to the world in 2011, still resides in his imagery poetry that keeps his spirit alive in the reader.
John Haines uses great imagery in his poems to transport the reader into his poem, and into his own sights and sounds. This is a grand experience, harsh and kind at the same time. Over wild areas he takes us, and then with a certain sadness he shows us the wilds that we seek, that solitude and quietness, we bring society and destruction with us, even if we do not think of it that deeply when we are in the long forgotten places, beautiful to the eye, and so seductive to exploitation. Each footstep, each snow machine ride, brings more of us into the wild areas, and deletes more of the wildness from the areas that we love to death. Many times we mother over areas of the wilds, too worried about micromanaging them for range management, game management, or other reasons. Wolves, bears, predators of all types were of conquest, especially in the west of the lower forty eight states over a century ago. When they were gone, the true wilderness was gone, and this was realized and with great effort and cost, they were brought back.
The wilds are not supposed to be exploited for our own monetary reasons, but enjoyed for what they are and lightly impacted by our visits. Even in the deeper acres of some of the parks in Ohio where I am stuck at the moment, and even though they are of limited accessibility, areas such as these are deeply scarred by foot prints, beer cans and garbage. We must look at the beauty of John Haines’ works and realize we are the next generation to help preserve the beauty he wrote of and what hopefully we can all enjoy also in the future!
Works Cited (image):
N.d. Photograph. n.p. Web. 29 Sep 2013. <https://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/59>.