The sea can do craziness, it can do smooth, it can lie down like silk breathing or toss havoc shoreward; it can give gifts or withhold all; it can rise, ebb, froth like an incoming frenzy of fountains, or it can sweet-talk entirely. As I can too, and so, no doubt, can you, and you.
...Sometimes I dream that everything in the world is here, in my room, in a great closet, named and orderly, and I am here too, in front of it, hardly able to see for the flash and the brightness- and sometimes I am that madcap person clapping my hands and singing; and sometimes I am that quiet person down on my knees.
Poetry is one of the ancient arts, and it began, as did all the fine arts, within the original wilderness of the earth. Also, it began through the process of seeing, and feeling, and hearing, and smelling, and touching, and then remembering--I mean remembering in words--what these perceptual experiences were like, while trying to describe the endless invisible fears and desires of our inner lives.
The poet dreams of the classroom I dreamed I stood up in class And I said aloud: Teacher, Why is algebra important? Sit down, he said. Then I dreamed I stood up And I said: Teacher, I’m weary of the turkeys That we have to draw every fall. May I draw a fox instead? Sit down, he said. Then I dreamed I stood up once more and said: Teacher, My heart is falling asleep And it wants to wake up. It needs to be outside. Sit down, he said.
I would say that there exists a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves-we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together, we are each other's destiny.
Poetry is a river; many voices travel in it; poem after poem moves along in the exciting crests and falls of the river waves. None is timeless; each arrives in an historical context; almost everything, in the end, passes. But the desire to make a poem, and the world's willingness to receive it--indeed the world's need of it--these never pass.
But the owls themselves are not hard to find, silent and on the wing, with their ear tufts flat against their heads as they fly and their huge wings alternately gliding and flapping as they maneuver through the trees. Athena's owl of wisdom and Merlin's companion, Archimedes, were screech owls surely, not this bird with the glassy gaze, restless on the bough, nothing but blood on its mind.
GOING TO WALDEN It isn't very far as highways lie. I might be back by nightfall, having seen The rough pines, and the stones, and the clear water. Friends argue that I might be wiser for it. They do not hear that far-off Yankee whisper: How dull we grow from hurrying here and there! Many have gone, and think me half a fool To miss a day away in the cool country. Maybe. But in a book I read and cherish, Going to Walden is not so easy a thing As a green visit. It is the slow and difficult... Read more »