David & Richard Moore: The Unknown

Mar 11, 2015

Richard O. Moore (CC-BY-2.0)
Credit Philip Greene

Co-host David Moore remembers "driving the river road toward Duncan's Mills in the hills of the Coast Range of the Bay Area of California. My older brother would shriek and call it the "weee!" road for all its curves and plummets rising and falling. I remember standing on the back bench seat as a very small child while the grownups drove and smoked and talked in the front. (This was the Fifties.) The curl of cigarette smoke still looks and smells like comfort to me.

One of those former smokers, my dad, Richard Moore, is now 95 years old. Though nearly blind, he's still writing and publishing poetry, after a career of documentary filmmaking. As one of the oldest surviving members of the San Francisco Renaissance, he was part of the historic circle of writers and artists gathered around Kenneth Rexroth in San Francisco in the 1940s. Now he's recognized as a literary treasure. His next book of poems is due out this spring...His work, "Grief Octaves," published in Writing the Silences, is an example of his unwavering gaze on the face of death. He peoples that unknown with words, knowing there are no words there."

One of Moore's Grief Octaves: "Ashes, Ashes:"

"It is a morning for making up to things:
a universe from galaxies of crumbs
from which the bread was cut,
English toffee left on its plain paper,
burrs that the dog brought in.
bark from the wood brought in
to the place where the fire takes place,
to the flammable commonplace."

(Broadcast: "Reflections West," 3/11/15 & 9/16/15. Listen weekly on the radio, Wednesdays at 4:54 p.m.)