They pop up in various places throughout the novel — eight poems of varying length and tone. One is attributed to the character, Wilton: the song, “Always Loving You.” The next six are attributed to one or more of the other characters, and you’ll learn who that might be as you read the story.
Here they are according to the sequence in which they appear in the book.
Spider eyes stare down at me. I stare back at eight with two. What in my world do those eyes see? And with six more, what would I view?
Know Me I prefer fast or slow in a saddle To the white-knuckle speed of a car. I prefer sound and odor of cattle To the olfactory insult of tar. I am happier sleeping on hillsides Than in hotels with valets and locks, And I’m healthier eating wild berries Than consuming what’s sold in a box. I’ll take the still hour before sunrise Over midnight’s interminable gong And an evening in any small library Over music and drinks in a throng. You’ve not asked but I’ve told you what matters — What I look for in both pace and place And I’d spend all eternity with you If, when there, I could see your kind face.
[no title] My bubble is sealed in a glaze, Within it I breathe in a haze. It neither expands nor contracts, Nor admits new emotions or facts. With my mind an unraveling bight My soul's tear-stained spirit's a sight. And yet, outward I may seem unfazed In my vesicle fragile and crazed.
Words I Would Say A voice, and a word crossing space — A sound, a disturbance in air. But a word on the air leaves no trace, You may hear it, but then it’s not there. If I utter it softly, you hear, If I whisper, who’d know it was done? But, if softly and you are not near, Then both whispered and thought are as none. I would offer my words to the wind If I thought they would fall to the ground And if I could choose who, in the end, Were the soul by whom they would be found. Do you wonder what words I would say? Do you wish that you already knew? The air may receive them some day When I want you to hear: ‘I love you.’
[no title] Cryptic space No, I can’t stay Wave me away Shuffling feet Slow, yet I flee You’ve set me free Pillow time Near me you lie In my mind’s eye Spurning home Why? So I’ll know Where I must go Something true Should I tell you What we both know? Yearning, we Yes, and now I Yield to our tie
See? See that heap of husks behind me? Hollow casts of days now past, Husks that haunt and since remind me, Shells of hopes that died at last. See those pots erect before me? Vessels full with days to come, Each one dull and bound to bore me, Each a ringing, vacant drum. See this gaunt half-soul in tatters? Sentinel with one intent: Find the other half that matters; Mend the halves now flayed and rent. See the sense in this confusion? Product of men’s need to reign, Fostered by the bold illusion: Follow him! He’ll quash your pain. See the pain, not soon extinguished? How so many who are bruised, Keep the bed in which they’ve languished, Unaware how they’ve been used!
The last example of verse in the book is attributed to Tasunka Kokipapi, an Oglala chief of the mid-1800s. Although this verse is entirely fabricated for the book, it is intended to represent his other sayings and advice.
Our lives are as but a day. Our shadows are as spirits, Yours touching mine on the earth Even when we stand apart. At end of day our shadows become one with night. We are still here, only the light is gone. At end of life our spirits become one with all We are not gone, only no longer seen.