Along with the differences that abide in each of us, there is also in each of us a maverick, the darling stubborn one who won't listen, who insists, who chooses preference or the spirited guess over yardsticks or even history. I suspect this maverick is somewhat what the soul is, or at least that the soul lives close by and companionably with its agitating and inquiring force.
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Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled-to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world. I want to believe I am looking into the white fire of a great mystery. I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing-that the light is everything-that it is more than the sum of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.
I do not live happily or comfortably With the cleverness of our times. The talk is all about computers, The news is all about bombs and blood. This morning, in the fresh field, I came upon a hidden nest. It held four warm, speckled eggs. I touched them. Then went away softly, Having felt something more wonderful Than all the electricity of New York City.
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from the complications of loving you i think there is no end or return. no answer, no coming out of it. which is the only way to love, isn't it? this isn't a playground, this is earth, our heaven, for a while. therefore i have given precedence to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods that hold you in the center of my world. and i say to my body: grow thinner still. and i say to my fingers, type me a pretty song. and i say to my heart: rave on.
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The sweetness of dogs (fifteen) What do you say, Percy? I am thinking of sitting out on the sand to watch the moon rise. Full tonight. So we go and the moon rises, so beautiful it makes me shudder, makes me think about time and space, makes me take measure of myself: one iota pondering heaven. Thus we sit, I thinking how grateful I am for the moon's perfect beauty and also, oh! How rich it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile, leans against me and gazes up into my face. As though I were his perfect moon.
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I had a dog who loved flowers. Briskly she went through the fields, yet paused for the honeysuckle or the rose, her dark head and her wet nose touching the face of every one with its petals of silk with its fragrance rising into the air where the bees, their bodies heavy with pollen hovered - and easily she adored every blossom not in the serious careful way that we choose this blossom or that blossom the way we praise or don't praise - the way we love or don't love - but the way we long to be - that happy in the heaven of earth - that wild, that loving.
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Sometimes I spend all day trying to count the leaves on a single tree... Of course I have to give up, but by then I'm half crazy with the wonder of it--the abundance of the leaves, the quietness of the branches, the hopelessness of my effort. And I am in that delicious and important place, roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise.
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Do you love this world? Do you cherish your humble and silky life? Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath? Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden, and softly, and exclaiming of their dearness, fill your arms with the white and pink flowers, with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling, their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever?
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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 Trick of living, and finding it where you are.
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And now my old dog is dead, and another I had after him, and my parents are dead, and that first world, that old house, is sold and lost, and the books I gathered there lost, or sold- but more books bought, and in another place, board by board and stone by stone, like a house, a true life built, and all because I was steadfast about one or two things: loving foxes, and poems, the blank piece of paper, and my own energy- and mostly the shimmering shoulders of the world that shrug carelessly over the fate of any individual that they may, the better, keep the Niles and Amazons flowing.
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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.
In your hands The dog, the donkey, surely they know They are alive. Who would argue otherwise? But now, after years of consideration, I am getting beyond that. What about the sunflowers? What about The tulips, and the pines? Listen, all you have to do is start and There'll be no stopping. What about mountains? What about water Slipping over rocks? And speaking of stones, what about The little ones you can Hold in your hands, their heartbeats So secret, so hidden it may take years Before, finally, you hear them?
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Mornings at Blackwater" For years, every morning, I drank from Blackwater Pond. It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt, the feet of ducks. And always it assuaged me from the dry bowl of the very far past. What I want to say is that the past is the past, and the present is what your life is, and you are capable of choosing what that will be, darling citizen. So come to the pond, or the river of your imagination, or the harbor of your longing, and put your lips to the world. And live your life.
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I believe art is utterly important. It is one of the things that could save us. We don't have to rely totally on experience if we can do things in our imagination.... It's the only way in which you can live more lives than your own. You can escape your own time, your own sensibility, your own narrowness of vision.
There are things you can't reach. But You can reach out to them, and all day long. The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of god. And it can keep you busy as anything else, and happier. I look; morning to night I am never done with looking. Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around As though with your arms open.
And it is exceedingly short, his galloping life. Dogs die so soon. I have my stories of that grief, no doubt many of you do also. It is almost a failure of will, a failure of love, to let them grow old-or so it feels. We would do anything to keep them with us, and to keep them young. The one gift we cannot give.
When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it is over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.