Thursday, October 17, 2013

By Frazier Creek Falls

Standing up on lifted, folded rock
looking out and down --

The creek falls to a far valley.
Hills beyond that
facing, half-forested, dry
-- clear sky
strong wind in the stiff needle clusters
of the pine -- their brown 
round trunk bodies
straight, still;
rustling trembling limbs and twigs


This living flowing land
is all there is, forever

We are it
it sings through us -- 

We could live on this Earth
without clothes or tools!

-- Gary Snyder

Friday, June 7, 2013

Still the mind smiles at its own rebellions,
Knowing all the while that civilization and the other evils
That make humanity ridiculous, remain
Beautiful in the whole fabric, excesses that balance each other
Like the paired wings of a flying bird.
Misery and riches, civilization and squalid savagery,
Mass war and the odor of unmanly peace:
Tragic flourishes above and below the normal of life.
In order to value this fretful time
It is necessary to remember our norm, the unaltered passions,
The same-colored wings of imagination,
That the crowd clips, in lonely places new-grown: the unchanged
Lives of herdsmen and mountain farms,
Where men are few, and few tools, a few weapons, and their dawns are beautiful.
From here for normal one sees both ways,
and listens to the splendor of God, the exact poet, the sonorous
Antistrophe of desolation to the strophe multitude.

-- Robinson Jeffers

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

One plum blossom more
and that very one more is
where the warmth comes in.

-- Ransetsu

Thursday, April 11, 2013

One attraction in coming to the woods to live was that I should have leisure and opportunity to see the spring come in.  The ice in the pond at length begins to be honey-combed, and I can set my heel in it as I walk.  Fogs and rains and warmer suns are gradually melting the snow; the days have grown sensibly longer; and I see how I shall get through the winter without adding to my wood-pile, for large fires are no longer necessary.  I am on the alert for the first signs of spring, to hear the chance note of some arriving bird, or the striped squirrel's chirp, for his stores must be now nearly exhausted, or see the woodchuck venture out of his winter quarters.  On the 13th of March, after I had heard the bluebird, song-sparrows, and red-wing, the ice was still nearly a foot thick.  As the weather grew warmer, it was not sensibly worn away by the water nor broken up and floated off as in rivers, but, though it was completely melted for half a rod in width about the shore, the middle was merely honey-combed and saturated with water, so that you could put your foot through it when six inches thick; but by the next day evening, perhaps, after a warm rain followed by fog, it would have wholly disappeared, all gone off with the fog, spirited away.

-- Henry Thoreau

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tinsel in February, tinsel in August.
There are things in a man besides his reason.
Come home, wind, he kept crying and crying.

Snow glistens in its instant in the air,
Instant of millefiori bluely magnified--
Come home, wind, he said as he climbed the stair.

Crystal on crystal until crystal clouds
Become an over-crystal out of ice,
Exhaling these creations of itself.

There is a sense in sounds beyond their meaning.
The tinsel of August falling was like a flame
That breathed on ground, more blue than red, more red

Than green, fidgets of all-related fire.
The wind is like a dog that runs away.
But it is like a horse.  It is like motion

That lives in space.  It is a person at night,
A member of the family, a tie,
An ethereal cousin, another milleman.

-- Wallace Stevens

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon, release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost--
For the grapes' sake along the wall.

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Prayer to Go to Paradise with the Donkeys

When I must come to you, O my God, I pray
It be some dusty-roaded holiday,
And even as in my travels here below
I beg to choose by what road I shall go
To Paradise, where the clear stars shine by day.
I’ll take my walking stick and go my way
And to my friends the donkeys I shall say,
“I am Frances Jammes, and I’m going to Paradise,
For there is no hell in the land of the loving God.”
And I’ll say to them: “Come sweet friends of the blue skies,
Poor creatures who with a flap of the ears or a nod
Of the head shake off the buffets, the bees, the flies . . . ”

Let me come with these donkeys, Lord, into your land,
These beasts who bow their heads so gently, and stand
With their small feet joined together in a fashion
Utterly gentle, asking your compassion.
I shall arrive, followed by their thousands of ears,
Followed by those with baskets at their flanks,
By those who lug the carts of mountebacks
Or loads of feather dusters and kitchen wares,
By those with humps of battered water cans,
By bottle-shaped she-asses who halt and stumble,
By those tricked out in little pantaloons
To cover their wet, blue galls where flies assemble
In whirling swarms, making a drunken hum.
Dear God, let me be with these donkeys that I come
And let it be that angels lead us in peace
To leafy streams where cherries tremble in air
Sleek as the laughing flesh of girls; and there
In that haven of souls let it be that, leaning above
Your divine waters, I shall resemble these donkeys,
Whose humble and sweet poverty will appear
Clear in the clearness of your eternal love.

-- Frances Jammes, trans. Richard Wilbur