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Starting from Anywhere
May 2009

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One Hour That Morning and other poems
February 2014

Salt Moons: Poems 1981-2016

Lex Runciman

ISBN: 978-1-910669-77-8

Page Count: 134

Publication Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cover Artwork: Photography by the author

About this Book

“The buzzing confusion of everyday life can distract and dispirit.  In such a provisional situation, what is the human prospect?  What is the truth about us?  Or the beauty to be experienced here?  A major effort in Runciman's work addresses such questions.  If we are indeed fallen people in a world that needs repair, there might be remedies, retrievals, perhaps in family, or art, or the great green earth.”

Erik Muller
in Durable Goods: Appreciations of Oregon Poets

Author Biography

Born and raised in Portland, LEX RUNCIMAN has lived most of his life in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Along the way, he worked as warehouseman, shipping-receiving clerk, and a stacker in a box mill. Holder of graduate degrees from the writing programs at the University of Montana and the University of Utah, he taught for eleven years at Oregon State University and for twenty-four years at Linfield College, where he twice received the Edith Green Award for teaching excellence.

He is the author of five earlier books of poems, including One Hour That Morning & Other Poems, 2014, which won the Julie Olds and Thomas Hellie Award for Creative Achievement. The Admirations (1989) won the Oregon Book Award. His work has been featured on Verse Daily and in various anthologies including most recently CutBank 40 and Alive at the Center, published in 2013 by Ooligan Press. Individual poems have received the Kenneth O. Hanson Award and the Silcox Prize. Parents of two daughters and grandparents of three boys and a girl, he and Deborah Berry Runciman have been married more than forty years.

Read a sample from this book

The Boat at Kelly’s Lake

It was wooden,
old white plywood,
registered seismographically 
every weak breeze, every shift, 
the lake peaks widening
as they circled, the underworld 
set heaving, air
wriggling in brown explosions. 
Waterplants waved like sound 
pulled by a thick wind.
God was by the pier. Once
I reached my hand down 
wrist-deep in it, gooey, slick, 
brought up a cupped palm 
several consistencies of mud 
and a salamander
soft under pressure,
spotted yellow, moving 
confused in the air, both of us 
confused. It fell back
and once in the water
how it fell – clear,
slow, in its own heaven.

To Wait for Fair Weather

To wait for fair weather
was foolish, having come so far.
So that morning after cold toast, tea,
rashers and eggs, in damp salt wet, we walked, 
the two of us: we passed Higher Sea Lane, 
strode down by the King George, across

the Char’s swan bridge, and then up,
up Stonebarrow Hill, one side a rushy swale 
gone white mist almost the shape of a barn – 
a steep ascent beside runnels, last bluebells, 
sword ferns, maidenhair, each step
not knowing, each look and pause

a difference, even the weather
unsure, half inclined to bucket
or merely thicken – and then that first fog 
cleared, all the shrouded down meadow 
come at last red clover and yellow
and lime grass wet enough to shine

 all the way to ocean, grey blue,
murmur at a cliff, flattened stalks 
signposting our long gaze
to hedge-rowed, green-rumpled pasture hay 
backed by a great rise: salt calm it was –
an unbalancing, like grief lifting,

distance and bloom, an afternoon
wide opened, best company, no hurry, sun.

–for DJR

All poems copyright © Lex Runciman 2017

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