C Wesley Potter's Poetry

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Among the treasures preserved by Mom and Dad was a book (perhaps passed down from Grandma Frances) named  PEACE and for-get-me-nots. It contained Uncle Wes's poetry published poshumously by Aunt Leone.

You might want to skip down and read the poetry (it's short) before continuing here.

I have a vague memory...so vague I don't trust it...that Uncle Wes would recite jazz poetry at family events. Perhaps with dance as well? Or perhaps this is all personal apocrapha. I do know that he was the family beatnik despite an engineering degree and a job at the Mines. I remember a story (from Grandma) of him taking his younger sister, Lois, fresh out of high school and right off the farm, on a drive across South Dakota to start College in Rapid City. They were driving and flat bed truck sans bed, ie it just had two long wooden beams where a bed could be attached. The truck broke down in the Badlands / Wall stretch of the state. Lois stayed in the cab in fear for her life having been terrified as a child by tales of what could happen in 'Indian Country.'  Wes, however, climbed up on top of the truck and spent the next 3 hours writing poetry while waiting for someone else to drive by.

I was surprised how modern some of his poetry seems. The sensibility of some of it is quite Zen (a beatnik trait) as witnessed by the nature poems and the 'stay hungry' poem below despite predating Gary Snyder's Cold Mountain Poems by a decade. There is much of his poetry that seems archaic in form and sensibility but some of it could have been written recently and, to the extent that I'm a judge of such things, by a significant poet.

Nature Poems.

Wes Potter nature poetry

C Wesley Potter Poem - Compensation C Wesley Potter Poem - Cold Wave

Also, this one from a holiday card.

Wes Potter poetry

Back cover - last Whole Earth Catalog

Continuing the Buddhist/beatnik thread, compare this to the sign off of the last the Whole Earth Catalog, "Stay hungry. Stay foolish.", later used by Steve Jobs to anchor his Stanford commencement address.


C Wesley Potter Poem - I Know a GirlLeone PotterC Wesley Potter Poem - Old Trails

PEACE and for-get-me-nots cover

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Joined: 06/28/15
I agree, these are wonderful.
I agree, these are wonderful. I can see him sitting on the cab of the truck, and I surely can see Lois hiding in the cab. Leone, now she was a force of nature, too.
Richard Bruce (not verified)
Leone is my aunt....my father
Leone is my aunt....my father's sister. Wes and my father, Marion Bruce, farmed together in the late 1920s. I have many fond memories of Uncle Wes including living part of one summer vacation with them when I was age 10 and they lived in Deadwood, SD. I remember his book of poems. Richard Bruce
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