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David Mason was born on December 11th, 1954 in Bellingham Washington. He attended Colorado College where he received his BA, he also attended the University of Rochester in New York where he earned his MA and PhD. Mason's poems are a wide verity from relationships all the way to the adventures of traveling. All his poems are written about things he has been through or things he can relate to just like other people can relate to his work. Most of his work is written in free verse so they are like reading a story instead of singing a nursery rhyme.The Country I Remember

By the time the train pulled into Portland, I knew there was no one who could save my life but me. Now I was twenty-nine years old, a spinster with a love of poetry and no money, experienced at cooking. Portland was a brick city on the river with some degraded shanties for the poor.
Fishermen, lumberjacks and prostitutes, bartenders and bankers rambled her streets, and I saw quickly it was rougher than the frontier village that my father knew. And wet. I swear it rained all winter long, the smell of fish and cut wood everywhere. I spent a week just wandering the streets,
looking for work to pay for my hotel, but what could I do? I couldn't bring myself to sing in a saloon with sawdust floors or join the mission at the riverfront. I saw that I had lived with family to fortify me far too many years, and I would have to learn to live alone.
The hotel keeper, Mr. Jenkins, must have pitied me; he offered me a job, first as kitchen help, then behind the desk keeping his accounts. It paid my room and board and something extra that I set aside-- my first Christmas away from home I sent small presents to the folks in Pomeroy.
I had a private room on the first floor, and bed and dresser and electric light for reading so I didn't strain my eyes. "It rains across the country I remember." That was a line from Trumbull Stickney, read in another room some other, later year, but I remember feeling it in Portland,
closing my eyes and burrowing in the sheets to listen to the water streaming down the walls outside, the brick streets rushing all that dark water downhill to the river where it kept on going silently to sea and clear across the China. I was alone. I was alone and it was more than I could bear
to lie there listening to that driving rain.
*
Maybe that is why we go on talking, always trying to show someone we're here, and look--I have a past just like you do, a stream of words that fills the empty night and sweetens troubled dreams, or so we hope, and tells us not to linger long on bridges staring at all the water passing by.
I thought my whole ambition was to make the past and present come together, dreamed into a vivid shape that memory could hold the way the land possesses rivers. They in turn possess the land and carry it in one clear stream of thought to drink from or water gardens with.
I learned that I must first talk to myself, retelling stories, muttering a few remembered lines of verse, to make the earth substantial and to bring the sunlight back. I thought of all the bones out on the prairie, of Mrs. Kress who came aboard our train in a tight corset, so my sister Beatrice
said she looked like an ant. I thought of land that flowed far out beneath us like a river turning the dead face-upward in the wake to talk to us of all their ruined lives in a Babel of tongues. And then I knew I worked to keep these troubled dreams at bay and keep the talking dead from drowning me.
"It rains across the country I remember."
*
When spring came, Mr. Jenkins offered me employment of another kind--a ring along with all the duties of a wife. He'd put his best suit on when he proposed and I could see why others might have faltered, fearing nights alone, but I was expert at saying no and hardly knowing why.
I told him I would move to California
-The Country I Remember-David Mason. Poetry Net, John Canaday. Web.

Image result for portland oregon weather
Image result for portland oregon weather

Portland Oregon Picture. Google Images. Web

This poem " The Country I remember" is written in free verse and is like reading a personal story of Mason. He talks about when he was younger and how he was rejected by a woman. He arrives in Portland and automatically knows how the atmosphere is set up, like he remembers. Mason searches for a job even though the only thing he can really do is cook, and tries to scavenge the money to pay for a place to stay. Someone decided to help him out and basically be his father figure in his new step into life. He figures out what it takes to be on his own and looks at how he got to the point of content. Mason uses an abundance amount of imagery, and a few examples of personification. In the beginning of the poem he explains the different jobs being done, the hustle and bustle, and the different smells. For example "the smell of fish, and cut wood everywhere" this makes you think of the smell of a board walk in a marine. It also states "Fishermen, lumberjacks, and prostitutes, bartenders, and bankers rambled her streets" this helps you see how many different people live there and how busy and rowdy the streets are. As for personification he ties a lot of it into with all the rain Portland gets. For example "to lie there listening to that driving rain" this explains how constant and on going it is. When you're driving it is continuous until you have reached your destination. He also discusses " keep the talking dead from drowning me" now of course the dead cant talk and they cant drown you. He is trying to explain how the memories of the past are trying to bring him down. He doesn't let that happen and takes his successful life he created and moves to California. Another point you could make is in line 22 "linger long on bridges staring at all the water passing by." This line is talking about not wasting time and just watching the world go by, keep moving and go on to new things.

A Thorn in the Paw
Once I was a young dog with a big thorn
in its paw, slowly becoming that very thorn,
not the howl but the thing
howled at, importunate, printing in blood.
Others grew up with chrism, incense, law,
but I was exiled from the start to stare
at lightning hurled from the sky
into a lake that revealed only itself.
Others had pews and prayer shawls, old fathers
telling them when to kneel and what to say.
I only had my eyes
my tongue my nose my skin and feeble ears.
Dove of descent, fat worm of contention,
bogeyman, Author- I cant get rid of you
merely by hating the world
when people behave at their too-human worst.
Birds high up in their summer baldachin
obey the messages of wind and leaves.
Their airy hosannas
can build a whole day out of worming and song.
I've worked at the thorn, I've stood by the shore
of the marvelous, drop-jawed and jabbering.
Nobody gave me a god
so I perfect my idolatry of doubt.

-A Thorn in the Paw- David Mason. Poetry Net, John Canaday. Web.

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-Rose with thorns picture. Google Images. Web
This poem "A Thorn in the Paw" may look like it has a pattern but it too is written in free verse. Mason discusses what it was like for him growing up. He wasn't taught right from wrong or any type of religion for comfort. He grew up teaching himself and learning the mysteries of life and how to portray the life he had. He uses symbolism, imagery, and anaphora. He uses the thorn in the paw to represent all the hardships and struggles he deals with in life yet he still goes on to live. He may be in pain and struggling but he deals with it and keeps on stepping. H using imagery to explain where he lived all alone such as, " start to stare at lightning hurled from the sky into a lake that reveled only itself." This represents even when the light is on him he still feels alone and like no one is there for him or wants him. He uses anaphor to emphasize the things that he had and how it is so much less than what other kids his age got. Such as, "I only had my eyes my tongue my nose my skin and feeble ears" he begins with my followed by a body part. This shows he had nothing but himself . With all the heartache and sadness he still lives his life the best he knows how because he has learned to deal with the thorn. He seeing the beautiful things in life and perfects his own way of really living. With no sense of a guide or encouragement on what is good or what is bad he figures it out on his own. It may have been scary and hard to stay positive but he didn't let the little prick of a thorn control his out look on life.

A Bit Of Skin


Across an aircraft aisle
a mother, young, in jeans
beside her children, leans
to pick up a dropped doll,
and at her reach, the blue
of her brief jacket lifts.
My glance furtively shifts,
acknowledging the view:

only the small of her back,
but lovely, alive, then
a realization — skin —
and I shyly bend to my book.
That teasing notion, touch,
transferred from eye to hand
six miles above the land
has shifted me to such

an adolescent state
when skin was everything
ecstatic, every sting
relieved by a hot date,
but now it's not so clear.
The mother across the aisle
indulges space with a smile
I can only describe as pure.

That too is skin, as is
the hand that holds my pen
depicting this little scene
like notes for an altarpiece.
Often I think our skin
is deep enough for love.
We wear it like a glove
until we wear it thin.

Outworn, its aging nerves
relay in the faintest brush
with other skins, the hush
of the advancing years.
This is our passage, bound
by all the laws of flight
through turbulence at night
until the wheels touch ground.

And as we disembark,
dragging our offices
or households past the eyes
and uniforms, the dark
above the parking lot
does not distinguish skin
from skin, woman from man,
who's loved from who is not.
-A Bit of Skin- David Mason. Poetry Nook. Web.
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-All people are the same picture. Google Images. Web

In this poem "A Bit of Skin" Mason obviously uses imagery and kind of changes tone throughout. For example in line 2 "A mother, young, in Jeans" this shows he is paying attention to her apperence. Also in lines 10-12 " but lovely alive, then a realization-skin and i shyly bend to my book". This show as soon as the man saw skin his attention was more focused. Later on in the poem in lines 47-49 "does not distinguish skin from skin, woman from man, who's loved from who is not. These lines show the tone change from inappropriate attention to no one is defined by their skin and we are all the same. The way the poem is structured makes it easy to read but makes you think about what is is really talking about. When you think of skin you don't think about just one person. Everyone has skin, weather its scared, has tattoos, wrinkly, pale, tan, dark or light. We all have skin which makes us the same. This poem reminded me of dress code at school. They think a shoulder or a knee will keep someone from their education. The only reason it would be a big deal now is because no one is used to seeing someone walking in school with a tank top or shorts on. with it being uncommon of course people are going to get distracted but it wouldn't last long just like in the poem. First the guy was distracted and put his attention on the woman skin but shortly after he began to realize everyone has skin.

Another thing
Like fossil shells embedded in a stone,
you are an absence, rimmed calligraphy,
a mouthing out of silence, a way to see
beyond the bedroom where you lie alone.
So why not be the vast, antipodal cloud
you soloed under, riven by cold gales?
And why not be the song of diving whales,
why not the plosive surf   below the road?

The others are one thing. They know they are.
One compass needle. They have found their way
and navigate by perfect cynosure.
Go wreck yourself once more against the day
and wash up like a bottle on the shore,
lucidity and salt in all you say
-Another Thing- David Mason. Poetry Foundation. Web
When i first read this poem " Another Thing" I was very lost. I recognized the imagery right of the back and the tone is a little vague. After reading it a couple times i grasp that it could be about finding yourself and knowing who you are. Yes, everyone is like a "fossil" in line one as in they all leave their print on the world, but you have to know who you are to make the print you need to make. This poem is short in length and not as easy to grasp onto as the others. In line one " like fossil shells embedded in stone" it implies you leaving a print but it also represents the feeling of being stuck in finding who you are. The tone is really represented in line seven " and why not be the song of diving whales". It is encouraging you to go be who you're meant to be and be happy like a song. It also represents that you only have one life and you only have one chance to really figure out who you are and what pure on this earth to do. So why not do crazy things and why not go out and have fun? If it is apart of who you are then the print and memory you leave of yourself on this earth will be what you wanted it to be. The print you wanted to leave will always be original and cherished by the people you loved and were loved by you just have to get the courage to take that step.




Image result for fossil of a bird
Image result for fossil of a bird

-A fossil of a bird picture. Google Images. Web.