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Disappearing Poets: Craig Arnold in Japan

Updated on April 26, 2016
Craig Arnold
Craig Arnold | Source

Who is Craig Arnold?

Craig Arnold is an American poet who received his B.A. in English from Yale and his pHD in Creative Writing from University of Utah in 2001. His book "Shells," published in 1999, won multiple awards and is considered an American classic.

Craig Arnold went missing on April 27th 2009 while visiting an active volcano on the volcanic island Kuchinoerabijima Japan.

He joins the ranks of lost poets like Welden Kees and Lew Welch. I like to believe that these poets have found a quite place to write.


One of the reasons I disappeared;

I started writing letters to myself,

I was writing one of these letters

when I felt an unnatural calm

in the air people slowed in pace

time seemed to almost stop

with each wing stroke of a small

blue canary size bird lost

in the airport, lost in Japan.

I remembered you and felt sad.

I put my hand out as a perch

thinking that maybe contact with this bird

would bring back a previous time

"Don't you understand birds?"

That was not your voice

but the message was made very clear

I do not understand birds

but I know why I am here.

This journey to the foot of the volcano

these are the words I promised you

the words you deserve, inspired by heat

lava cooling down and hardening

my journey into the pulsations of Earth

I will sing you each word as I fall

package and send syllable with a gracious

tongue. I will probably be lost forever.


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