I first read Lew Welch in 1971, discovering him in Jim Koller's magazine Coyote's Journal. I arrived at Gary Snyder's home in California in the spring of 1973, too late for Lew. (Lew and Philip Whalen had been Snyder's housemates and poetry brothers at Reed College). Lew had come to Snyder's ridge land in 1971, hoping to build a cabin, but carried with him his alcohol demons. He walked into the woods, with a gun, leaving behind a note, and his belongings. I got to drive his jeep, but I never got to meet Lew. He did leave behind wonderful poems, and I still hope that people will discover his Ring of Bone - Collected Poems 1950-1971 for the treasure that it is.
Step out onto the planet.
Draw a circle a hundred feet round.
Inside the circle are
300 things nobody understands and, maybe
nobody's ever seen.
How many can you find?