Remembering Ray Bradbury

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Ray Bradbury, who as well as writing some of the first, most influential science fiction I ever read, but who helped teach me how to write. Zen and the Art of Writing, his book about how he became a writer and came to understand creativity is a book I constantly go back to when I’m stuck, especially for Bradbury’s poetry. Here’s one to start with:

Not smash and grab, but rather find and keep;Go panther-pawed where all the mined truths sleepTo detonate the hidden seeds with stealthSo in your wake a weltering of welathSprings up unseen, ignored and left behindAs you sneak on, pretending to be blind.On your return along the jungle path you’ve madeFind all the littered stuffs where you have strayed;The small truths and the large have surfaced thereWhere you stealth-blundered wildly unawareOr seeming so. And so these mines were minedIn easy game of pace and pounce and find;But mostly fluid pace, not too much pounce.Attention must be paid, but by the ounce.Mock caring, seem aloof, ignore each mileAnd metaphors like cats behind your smileEach one wound up to purr, each one a pride,Each one a fine gold beast you’ve hid inside,Now summoned forth in harvests from the brakeTurned anteloping elephants that shakeAnd drum and crack the mind to awe,To behold beauty yet perceive its flaw.Then, flaw discovered, like fair beauty’s mole,Haste back to reckon all entire, the Whole.This done, pretend these wits you do not keep,Go panther-pawed where all the mined truths sleep.