Camping in Big Sur

This poem was first presented  in a poetry reading at Japenese American National Museum, Los Angeles, May 19, 2002. [in Persian]

“We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;

We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident

As the rock and ocean that we were made from.”

From “Carmel Point” by Robinson Jeffers


The dog is near the fire

And the walking stick in the shadows

The eyes are full of smoke

The lips full of words

And the ghosts are wandering

Tomorrow we’ll go to the forest

To see the waterfall

And I’ll carry my walking stick.


The forest is full of firewood

Do not burn my walking stick

I, too, love the fire

With its laughing sparks

And dancing fairies

Where is my walking stick?

I’m going to find more firewood


My tent is small

I put my boots outside

When I put them on in the morning

My socks become all wet

I look at my neighbor’s huge tent

and his dog behind the screen door

Grinning at me


I want to wash my hands

And skewer the meat

Where is the soap?

The faucet is talking

To the puddle beneath

And a pilotless soap dish

Wandering on the water


The eggs are gone

But their shells are still visible

On the yellow grass

Believe me

Raccoons are not thieves

They are making the breakfast

As soon as we toast the bread

They’ll be back with frying pans


How many times

Did they sit around you

Telling their stories?

The campfire holds secrets

And in its grey heart

There is room for everyone


“Blessed are the meek,

For they shall inherit the earth.” [1]

Once in this abandoned kiln

They used to burn the trees

And now out of the chimney

A green flag

Is waving in the wind


A grey boulder is praying

Toward the sea

With a big headgear

And a bending back

And the sea gulls overhead

Say “Amen!”


My tentmate has a strange habit

He snores “Money! Money!”

But at the time of sharing the expenses

He does not show up


We have run out of wine

and the Una’s tavern is closed

“How about a half bottle of Tequila?”

Our neighbors are generous

Tonight, around the campfire

We will read from Jeffers [2]

Will they be reading from Sepehri? [3]

— May 29, 2001

[in Persian]


[1]Matthew, 5:5

[2]Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) A Californian Isolationist, pantheist, and ecocenterist poet who lived with his wife Una in Big Sur.

[3]Sohrab Sepehri (1928-80) An Iranian pantheist and ecocenterist poet and painter.

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