Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reverence for Robert Sund

Robert Sund was a poet who lived in LaConner -- until he got tired of the nonsense and then he spent his last few years in Anacortes -- where many new friends gathered around him. He was admired and revered for his simple poetry and Buddhist life.

But we, who knew him for so many years in LaConner, did not revere him. He was just one of us -- a good man all around, with well-known character flaws. Everyone in LaConner has a Robert Sund story, and most of them are not reverential.

But he was our poet -- that was good. The rest of us weren't poets, and we felt that our town, of population 700, could support a poet, because we were a wealthy and sensible town, and any town that chose not to support a poet was bound to be stupid and poor.

And we still feel that way now, although Robert died 6 years ago.

I remember seeing him laid out at the funeral home. He was going to be cremated, so they didn't fix him up. He was laying on on a hospital gurney, wearing only his hospital gown, and his long bare feet hung over the edge of the gurney. Another friend folded his hands over his gown, and laced them with the Buddhist beads that Robert loved.

I was thinking that I ought to put some socks on his bare feet -- his feet might be getting cold. But then I realized that he's gone from us now, and where he was gone to they don't wear socks or shoes.


Don said...

Hello...Likely know one will read this but hey..i'll knock. I spoke with Mr. Sund on the telephone back about 1990 or so. He was living with some folks in La Connor at the time. He asked me if I was involved with environmental issues here on the east side of the state (Spokane). I told him how much his Palouse, wheat country poems meant to me. How much I liked his rainy side work just as well. He was quiet and very pleasant to me, a total stranger, without a face....just a voice on the phone. I'd look for his chapbooks whenever I was in Eliot Bay books. Just thought I'd leave a fragment of moment in the continuum of a poets life...Best, Don

Anonymous said...

The reverence for Robert Sund exceeds the reverence for anyone else I can think of whoever lived in La Conner. It's a phenomenon I'm contributing to just by leaving a comment, like a flower, in a blog. I knew Robert in Seattle before he moved to La Conner. We
were volunteers at KRAB fm which was a listener supported free forum community radio station. This was before NPR and the station was an odd ball magnet. No one really knew what they were doing. Robert had a poetry show. He interview the poets who passed through town. One night he didn't have a guest so he interviewed me as Edna St. Dum Dum. I read some passages from a book we picked up earlier in the day at St. Vincent de Paul's entitled "Your Camera and How It Works." I'd like to find that tape again. We were cracking each other so much we could barely do the show. (Charlie Krafft)

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