Unlike some poets who torture the language and reader’s sensibilities, Robert ‘red hawk’ Moore writes poetry that’s honest and accessible, though sometimes painful. His work has garnered comparisons to Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare and Walt Whitman.
His newest book, “Wreckage With A Beating Heart,” provides 300 pages of poems in four sections exploring the universal themes of love, life and death. One poem even describes his vision quest at a sweat lodge that gave him the nickname red hawk – two words not capitalized, he notes.
You can’t fool the Sweat Lodge.
It reveals everything, courage and stupidity
alike. Courage comes from the Earth;
stupidity is the only thing
we can honestly claim as our own.
– from “Red Hawk Is Not An Indian Name”
“What I saw in my vision was my sign: sun dawning over mountain and two birds flying into the sun,” he says. “The death of self is the birth of love. The moment that I had that vision was in the dead of winter on the Buffalo River – everywhere no humans, two red-tail hawks flying into the sun. Earth named me and showed me my direction in life at that moment in 1975. That was the moment that the bond of my mother the earth was internalized for me.”
Noting the similarities between life’s dominant themes of love and death, red hawk enjoys examining what it personally means.
“Death is love,” red hawk says while lying on his back in his office. “In order for love to flourish, I have to die to myself and live for others without regard to myself. Love is the greatest freedom; love is the greatest slavery. Unless I understand both sides, I never get the full impact of love. Love is the greatest responsibility in human life.”
He promises to tell the truth about himself regardless of how it makes him look. Nothing lies beyond examination: some poems explain his betrayal of his daughter’s love and trust, while others examine his loss of respect for his father. It seems the more it hurts, the better the poem. By using personal experiences, red hawk evokes sympathy for humankind’s eventual loss of innocence.
When your mother dies, cities should burn
and the slow galaxies should cease to turn
– from “At My Mother’s Funeral” Continue reading