Excerpt: "So Far So Good"

Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin (Marian Wood Kolisch)

Ursula K. Le Guin ’52GSAS was best known for her science-fiction and fantasy novels, which transported readers to other worlds while also asking important questions about life on Earth. But Le Guin was also a prolific poet, and two weeks before her death in January 2018 she finished the manuscript for So Far So Good, a collection that serves as an appropriate capstone to her important career.

Fans of Le Guin’s fiction will recognize some familiar themes in So Far So Good — particularly, reverent odes to animals (mythical and real) and the unfathomable mysteries of the natural world. But perhaps most profound are Le Guin’s meditations on aging, and on the relationship of soul to body. It’s clear from these new poems, including “How It Seems to Me,” that Le Guin was facing death not only with resolve but with wonder. 


How It Seems to Me 


In the vast abyss before time, self

is not, and soul commingles

with mist, and rock, and light. In time,

soul brings the misty self to be. 

Then slow time hardens self to stone

while ever lightening the soul,

till soul can loose its hold of self

and both are free and can return

to vastness and dissolve in light,

the long light after time. 

— Ursula K. Le Guin