Wednesday, October 29, 2014
I wake in the night,
An old ache in the shoulder blades.
I lie amazed under the trees
That creak a little in the dark,
The giant trees of the world.
I lie on earth the way
Flames lie in the woodpile,
Or as an imprint, in sperm or egg, of what is to be.
I love the earth, and always
In its darkness I am a stranger.
6 A.M. Water frozen again. Melted it and made tea. Ate a raw egg and the last orange. Refreshed by a long sleep. the trail practically indistinguishable under 8" of snow. 9:30 A.M. Snow up to my knees in places. Sweat begins freezing under my shirt when I stop to rest. The woods are filled, anyway, with the windy noise of the first streams. 10:30 A.M. the sun at last. The snow starts to melt off the boughs at once, falling with little ticking sounds. Mist clouds are lying in the valleys. 11:45 A.M. Slow, glittering breakers roll in on the beaches ten miles away, very blue and calm. 12 noon. An inexplicable sense of joy, as if some happy news had been transmitted to me directly, by-passing the brain. 2 P.M. From the top of Gauldy I looked back into Hebo valley. Castle Rock sticks into a cloud. A cool breeze comes up from the valley, it is a fresh, earthly wind and tastes of snow and trees. It is not like those transcendental breezes that make the heart ache. It bring happiness. 2:30 P.M. Lost the trail. A woodpecker watches me wade about through the snow trying to locate it. The sun has gone back of the trees. 3:10 P.M. Still hunting for the trail. Getting cold. From an elevation I have an open view to the SE, a world of timberless, white hills, rolling, weirdly wrinkled. Above them a pale half moon. 3:45 P.M. Going on by map and compass. A minute ago a deer fled touching down every fifteen feet or so. 7:30 P.M. Made camp near the heart of Alder Creek. Trampled a bed into the snow and filled it with boughs. Concocted a little fire in the darkness. Ate pork and beans. A slug or two of whiskey burnt my throat. The night very clear. Very cold. That half moon is up there and a lot of stars have come out among the treetops. The fire has fallen to coals.
The coals go out,
The last smoke weaves up
Losing itself in the stars.
This is my first night to lie
In the uncreating dark.
In the heart of a man
There sleeps a green worm
That has spun the heart about itself,
And that shall dream itself black wings
One day to break free into the beautiful black sky.
I leave my eyes open,
I lie here and forget our life,
All I see is we float out
Into the emptiness, among the great stars,’
On this little vessel without lights.
I know that I love the day,
The sun on the mountain, the Pacific
Shiny and accomplishing itself in breakers,
But I know I live half alive in the world,
Half my life belongs to the wild darkness.
~ Galway Kinnell
who died today, at home in Sheffield, Vt. at age 87.
Wonder, as the child of mystery, is a natural source of prayer.
One of the most beautiful forms of prayer is the prayer of appreciation. This prayer arises out of the recognition of the gracious kindness of creation. We have been given so much. We could never have merited or earned it. When you appreciate all you are and all you have, you can celebrate and enjoy it. You realize how fortunate you are. Providence is blessing you and inviting you to be generous with your gifts. You are able to bless life and give thanks to God. The prayer of appreciation has no agenda but gracious thanks. Nothing is given to you for yourself alone. When you receive some blessing or gift, you do it in the name of others; through you, they, too, will come to share in the kindness of Providence.
~ John O'Donohue
from Eternal Echoes
Monday, October 27, 2014
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
from Sonnets of Orpheus II, 29
translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
~ Derek Walcott
from Collected Poems
with thanks to: http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/
Friday, October 10, 2014
Do you know who you are
O you forever listed
under some other heading
when you are listed at all
you whose addresses
when you have them
are never sold except
for another reason
something else that is
supposed to identify you
who carry no card
stating that you are—
what would it say you were
to someone turning it over
looking perhaps for
a date or for
anything to go by
you with no secret handshake
no proof of membership
no way to prove such a thing
even to yourselves
you without a word
and only yourselves
~ W.S. Merwin
from Collected Poems
photo by ansel adams