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.
differences quotesabide quotesmaverick quotesdarling quotesstubborn quoteslisten quotesinsists quoteschooses quotespreference quotesspirited quotesguess quotesyardsticks quoteshistory quotessuspect quotesmaverick quotessoul quoteslives quotesclose quotescompanionably quotesagitating quotesinquiring quotesforce quotes
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.
live quoteshappily quotescomfortably quotescleverness quotestimes quotestalk quotescomputers quotesnews quotesbombs quotesblood quotesmorning quotesfresh quotesfield quoteshidden quotesnest quotesheld quoteswarm quotesspeckled quoteseggs quotestouched quotessoftly quotesfelt quoteswonderful quoteselectricity quotesyork quotescity quotes
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.
complications quotesloving quotesend quotesreturn quotesanswer quotescoming quoteslove quotesplayground quotesearth quotesheaven quotesprecedence quotessudden quotessullen quotesdark quotesmoods quoteshold quotescenter quotesworld quotesbody quotesgrow quotesthinner quotesfingers quotestype quotespretty quotessong quotesheart quotesrave quotes
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.
sweetness quotesdogs quotesfifteen quotespercy quotesthinking quotessitting quotessand quoteswatch quotesmoon quotesrise quotesfull quotestonight quotesrises quotesbeautiful quotesmakes quotesshudder quotestime quotesspace quotesmeasure quotesiota quotespondering quotesheaven quotessit quotesgrateful quotesmoons quotesperfect quotesbeauty quotesrich quoteslove quotesworld quotespercy quotesleans quotesgazes quotesface quotesmoon quotes
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.
dog quotesloved quotesflowers quotesbriskly quotesfields quotespaused quoteshoneysuckle quotesrose quotesdark quoteshead quoteswet quotesnose quotestouching quotesface quotespetals quotessilk quotesfragrance quotesrising quotesair quotesbees quotesbodies quotesheavy quotespollen quoteshovered quoteseasily quotesadored quotesblossom quotescareful quoteschoose quotespraise quoteslove quoteslong quoteshappy quotesheaven quotesearth quoteswild quotesloving quotes
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.
spend quotesday quotescount quotesleaves quotessingle quotestree quotesgive quoteshalf quotescrazy quotesitthe quotesabundance quotesleaves quotesquietness quotesbranches quoteshopelessness quoteseffort quotesdelicious quotesimportant quotesplace quotesroaring quoteslaughter quotesfull quotesearthpraise quotes
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?
love quotesworld quotescherish quoteshumble quotessilky quoteslife quotesadore quotesgreen quotesgrass quotesterror quotesbeneath quoteshurry quoteshalfdressed quotesbarefoot quotesgarden quotessoftly quotesexclaiming quotesdearness quotesfill quotesarms quoteswhite quotespink quotesflowers quoteshoneyed quotesheaviness quoteslush quotestrembling quoteseagerness quoteswild quotesperfect quotesmoment quotesforever quotes
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.
walden quoteshighways quoteslie quotesback quotesnightfall quotesrough quotespines quotesstones quotesclear quoteswater quotesfriends quotesargue quoteswiser quoteshear quotesfaroff quotesyankee quoteswhisper quotesdull quotesgrow quoteshurrying quoteshalf quotesfool quotesmiss quotesday quotescool quotescountry quotesbook quotesread quotescherish quoteswalden quoteseasy quotesthing quotesgreen quotesvisit quotesslow quotesdifficult quotestrick quotesliving quotesfinding quotes
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.
dog quotesdead quotesparents quotesworld quoteshouse quotessold quoteslost quotesbooks quotesgathered quotessold quotesbought quotesplace quotesboard quotesstone quotesstone quotestrue quoteslife quotesbuilt quotessteadfast quotesthings quotesloving quotesfoxes quotespoems quotesblank quotespiece quotespaper quotesenergy quotesshimmering quotesshoulders quotesworld quotesshrug quotescarelessly quotesfate quotesindividual quotesniles quotesamazons quotesflowing quotes
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?
hands quotesdog quotesdonkey quotessurely quotesalive quotesargue quotesyears quotesconsideration quotessunflowers quotestulips quotespines quoteslisten quotesstart quotestherell quotesstopping quotesmountains quoteswater quotesslipping quotesrocks quotesspeaking quotesstones quoteshold quoteshands quotesheartbeats quotessecret quoteshidden quotesfinally quoteshear quotes
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.
mornings quotesblackwater quotesyears quotesmorning quotesdrank quotesblackwater quotespond quotesflavored quotesoak quotesleaves quotesdoubt quotesfeet quotesducks quotesassuaged quotesdry quotesbowl quotespast quotespast quotespast quotespresent quoteslife quotescapable quoteschoosing quotesdarling quotescitizen quotespond quotesriver quotesimagination quotesharbor quoteslonging quotesput quoteslips quotesworld quoteslive quoteslife quotes
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.
I wanted the past to go away, I wanted to leave it, like another country; I wanted my life to close, and open like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song where it falls down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery; I wanted to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know, whoever I was, I was alive for a little while.
Why should I have been surprised? Hunters walk the forest without a sound. The hunter, strapped to his rifle, the fox on his feet of silk, the serpent on his empire of muscles- all move in a stillness, hungry, careful, intent. Just as the cancer entered the forest of my body, without a sound.
The Poet With His Face In His Hands You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn't need anymore of that sound. So if you're going to do it and can't stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can't hold it in, at least go by yourself across the forty fields and the forty dark inclines of rocks and water to the place where the falls are flinging out their white sheets like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that jubilation and water fun and you can stand there, under it, and roar all you want and nothing will be disturbed; you can drip with despair all afternoon and still, on a green branch, its wings just lightly touched by the passing foil of the water, the thrush, puffing out its spotted breast, will sing of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.
poet quotesface quoteshands quotescry quotesaloud quotesmistakes quotestruth quotesworld quotesanymore quotessound quotesstop quotespretty quotesmouth quoteshold quotesforty quotesfields quotesdark quotesinclines quotesrocks quoteswater quotesplace quotesfalls quotesflinging quoteswhite quotessheets quotescrazy quotescave quotesjubilation quotesfun quotesstand quotesroar quotesdisturbed quotesdrip quotesdespair quotesafternoon quotesgreen quotesbranch quoteswings quoteslightly quotestouched quotespassing quotesfoil quoteswater quotesthrush quotespuffing quotesspotted quotesbreast quotessing quotesperfect quotesstonehard quotesbeauty quotes
How I go to the woods Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. I don't really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours. Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing. If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.
woods quotesordinarily quotessingle quotesfriend quotessmilers quotestalkers quotesunsuitable quoteswitnessed quotestalking quotescatbirds quoteshugging quotesblack quotesoak quotestree quotespraying quotesdoubt quotesinvisible quotessit quotestop quotesdune quotesmotionless quotesuprise quotesweeds quotesfoxes quotesrun quotesunconcerned quoteshear quotesunhearable quotessound quotesroses quotessinging quoteslove quotes
In Blackwater Woods Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars of light, are giving off the rich fragrance of cinnamon and fulfillment, the long tapers of cattails are bursting and floating away over the blue shoulders of the ponds, and every pond, no matter what its name is, is nameless now. Every year everything I have ever learned in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know. To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
blackwater quoteswoods quotestrees quotesturning quotesbodies quotespillars quoteslight quotesgiving quotesrich quotesfragrance quotescinnamon quotesfulfillment quoteslong quotestapers quotescattails quotesbursting quotesfloating quotesblue quotesshoulders quotesponds quotespond quotesmatter quotesnameless quotesyear quoteslearned quoteslifetime quotesleads quotesback quotesfires quotesblack quotesriver quotesloss quotesside quotessalvation quotesmeaning quoteslive quotesworld quotesthings quoteslove quotesmortal quoteshold quotesbones quotesknowing quoteslife quotesdepends quotestime quotes
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don't hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that's often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don't be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb. (Don't Hesitate)
suddenly quotesunexpectedly quotesfeel quotesjoy quoteshesitate quotesgive quotesplenty quoteslives quotestowns quotesdestroyed quoteswise quoteskind quotesredeemed quoteslife quotespossibility quotesleft quotesfighting quotesback quoteshappened quotesriches quotespower quotesworld quotesnotice quotesinstant quoteslove quotesbegins quotescase quotesafraid quotesplenty quotesjoy quotesmade quotescrumb quoteshesitate quotes
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.
Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars of light, are giving off the rich fragrance of cinnamon and fulfillment, the long tapers of cattails are bursting and floating away over the blue shoulders of the ponds, and every pond, no matter what its name is, is nameless now. Every year everything I have ever learned in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know. To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
trees quotesturning quotesbodies quotespillars quoteslight quotesgiving quotesrich quotesfragrance quotescinnamon quotesfulfillment quoteslong quotestapers quotescattails quotesbursting quotesfloating quotesblue quotesshoulders quotesponds quotespond quotesmatter quotesnameless quotesyear quoteslearned quoteslifetime quotesleads quotesback quotesfires quotesblack quotesriver quotesloss quotesside quotessalvation quotesmeaning quoteslive quotesworld quotesthings quoteslove quotesmortal quoteshold quotesbones quotesknowing quoteslife quotesdepends quotestime quotes
Sleeping In The Forest I thought the earth remembered me, she took me back so tenderly, arranging her dark skirts, her pockets full of lichens and seeds. I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed, nothing between me and the white fire of the stars but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths among the branches of the perfect trees. All night I heard the small kingdoms breathing around me, the insects, and the birds who do their work in the darkness. All night I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling with a luminous doom. By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times into something better.
sleeping quotesforest quotesthought quotesearth quotesremembered quotesback quotestenderly quotesarranging quotesdark quotesskirts quotespockets quotesfull quoteslichens quotesseeds quotesslept quotesstone quotesriver quotesbed quoteswhite quotesfire quotesstars quotesthoughts quotesfloated quoteslight quotesmoths quotesbranches quotesperfect quotestrees quotesnight quotesheard quotessmall quoteskingdoms quotesbreathing quotesinsects quotesbirds quoteswork quotesdarkness quotesrose quotesfell quoteswater quotesgrappling quotesluminous quotesdoom quotesmorning quotesvanished quotesdozen quotestimes quotes
At Blackwater Pond At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled after a night of rain. I dip my cupped hands. I drink a long time. It tastes like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold into my body, waking the bones. I hear them deep inside me, whispering oh what is that beautiful thing that just happened?
blackwater quotespond quotestossed quoteswaters quotessettled quotesnight quotesrain quotesdip quotescupped quoteshands quotesdrink quoteslong quotestime quotestastes quotesstone quotesleaves quotesfire quotesfalls quotescold quotesbody quoteswaking quotesbones quoteshear quotesdeep quotesinside quoteswhispering quotesbeautiful quotesthing quoteshappened quotes
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 falling. And I do.
Dogfish I wanted The past to go away, I wanted To leave it, like another country; I wanted My life to close, and open Like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song Where it falls Down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery; I wanted To hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know, Whoever I was, I was Alive For a little while... mostly, I want to be kind. And nobody, of course, is kind, Or mean, For a simple reason. And nobody gets out of it, having to Swim through the fires to stay in This world.
dogfish quoteswanted quotespast quotesleave quotescountry quoteslife quotesclose quotesopen quoteshinge quoteswing quotespart quotessong quotesfalls quotesrocks quotesexplosion quotesdiscovery quoteshurry quoteswork quoteslife quotesalive quoteskind quoteskind quotessimple quotesreason quotesswim quotesfires quotesstay quotesworld quotes
I went down not long ago to the Mad River, under the willows I knelt and drank from that crumpled flow, call it what madness you will, there's a sickness worse than the risk of death and that's forgetting what we should never forget. Tecumseh lived here. The wounds of the past are ignored, but hang on like the litter that snags among the yellow branches, newspapers and plastic bags, after the rains. Where are the Shawnee now? Do you know? Or would you have to write to Washington, and even then, whatever they said, would you believe it? Sometimes I would like to paint my body red and go into the glittering snow to die. His name meant Shooting Star. From Mad River country north to the border he gathered the tribes and armed them one more time. He vowed to keep Ohio and it took him over twenty years to fail. After the bloody and final fighting, at Thames, it was over, except his body could not be found, and you can do whatever you want with that, say his people came in the black leaves of the night and hauled him to a secret grave, or that he turned into a little boy again, and leaped into a birch canoe and went rowing home down the rivers. Anyway this much I'm sure of: if we meet him, we'll know it, he will still be so angry.
long quotesago quotesmad quotesriver quoteswillows quotesknelt quotesdrank quotescrumpled quotesflow quotescall quotesmadness quotessickness quotesworse quotesrisk quotesdeath quotesforgetting quotesforget quotestecumseh quoteslived quoteswounds quotespast quoteshang quoteslitter quotessnags quotesyellow quotesbranches quotesnewspapers quotesplastic quotesbags quotesrains quotesshawnee quoteswrite quoteswashington quotespaint quotesbody quotesred quotesglittering quotessnow quotesdie quotesmeant quotesshooting quotesstar quotesriver quotescountry quotesnorth quotesborder quotesgathered quotestribes quotesarmed quotestime quotesvowed quotesohio quotestwenty quotesyears quotesfail quotesbloody quotesfinal quotesfighting quotesthames quotesfound quotespeople quotesblack quotesleaves quotesnight quoteshauled quotessecret quotesgrave quotesturned quotesboy quotesleaped quotesbirch quotescanoe quotesrowing quoteshome quotesrivers quotesmeet quotesangry quotes
On the beach, at dawn: Four small stones clearly Hugging each other. How many kinds of love Might there be in the world, And how many formations might they make And who am I ever To imagine I could know Such a marvelous business? When the sun broke It poured willingly its light Over the stones That did not move, not at all, Just as, to its always generous term, It shed its light on me, My own body that loves, Equally, to hug another body.
beach quotesdawn quotessmall quotesstones quoteshugging quoteskinds quoteslove quotesworld quotesformations quotesmake quotesimagine quotesmarvelous quotesbusiness quotessun quotesbroke quotespoured quoteswillingly quoteslight quotesmove quotesgenerous quotesterm quotesshed quotesbody quotesloves quotesequally quoteshug quotesbody quotes
Percy wakes me (fourteen) Percy wakes me and I am not ready. He has slept all night under the covers. Now he's eager for action: a walk, then breakfast. So I hasten up. He is sitting on the kitchen counter Where he is not supposed to be. How wonderful you are, I say. How clever, if you Needed me, To wake me. He thought he would a lecture and deeply His eyes begin to shine. He tumbles onto the couch for more compliments. He squirms and squeals: he has done something That he needed And now he hears that it is okay. I scratch his ears. I turn him over And touch him everywhere. He is Wild with the okayness of it. Then we walk, then He has breakfast, and he is happy. This is a poem about Percy. This is a poem about more than Percy. Think about it.
percy quoteswakes quotesfourteen quotesready quotesslept quotesnight quotescovers quoteseager quotesaction quoteswalk quotesbreakfast quoteshasten quotessitting quoteskitchen quotescounter quotessupposed quoteswonderful quotesclever quotesneeded quoteswake quotesthought quoteslecture quotesdeeply quoteseyes quotesbegin quotesshine quotestumbles quotescouch quotescompliments quotessquirms quotessqueals quotesneeded quoteshears quotesscratch quotesears quotesturn quotestouch quoteswild quotesokayness quotesbreakfast quoteshappy quotespoem quotespercy quotes
Tom Dancer's gift of a whitebark pine cone You never know What opportunity Is going to travel to you, Or through you. Once a friend gave me A small pine cone- One of a few He found in the scat Of a grizzly In Utah maybe, Or Wyoming. I took it home And did what I supposed He was sure I would do- I ate it, Thinking How it had traveled Through that rough And holy body. It was crisp and sweet. It was almost a prayer Without words. My gratitude, Tom Dancer, For this gift of the world I adore so much And want to belong to. And thank you too, great bear
tom quotesdancers quotesgift quoteswhitebark quotespine quotescone quotesopportunity quotestravel quotesfriend quotesgave quotessmall quotescone quotesfound quotesscat quotesgrizzly quotesutah quoteswyoming quoteshome quotessupposed quotesate quotesthinking quotestraveled quotesrough quotesholy quotesbody quotescrisp quotessweet quotesprayer quoteswords quotesgratitude quotesdancer quotesworld quotesadore quotesbelong quotesgreat quotesbear quotes
oxygen Everything needs it: bone, muscles, and even, while it calls the earth its home, the soul. So the merciful, noisy machine stands in our house working away in its lung-like voice. I hear it as I kneel before the fire, stirring with a stick of iron, letting the logs lie more loosely. You, in the upstairs room, are in your usual position, leaning on your right shoulder which aches all day. You are breathing patiently; it is a beautiful sound. It is your life, which is so close to my own that I would not know where to drop the knife of separation. And what does this have to do with love, except everything? Now the fire rises and offers a dozen, singing, deep-red roses of flame. Then it settles to quietude, or maybe gratitude, as it feeds as we all do, as we must, upon the invisible gift: our purest, sweet necessity: the air.
oxygen quotesbone quotesmuscles quotescalls quotesearth quoteshome quotessoul quotesmerciful quotesnoisy quotesmachine quotesstands quoteshouse quotesworking quoteslunglike quotesvoice quoteshear quoteskneel quotesfire quotesstirring quotesstick quotesiron quotesletting quoteslogs quoteslie quotesloosely quotesupstairs quotesroom quotesusual quotesposition quotesleaning quotesshoulder quotesaches quotesday quotesbreathing quotespatiently quotesbeautiful quotessound quoteslife quotesclose quotesdrop quotesknife quotesseparation quoteslove quotesfire quotesrises quotesoffers quotesdozen quotessinging quotesdeepred quotesroses quotesflame quotessettles quotesquietude quotesgratitude quotesfeeds quotesinvisible quotesgift quotespurest quotessweet quotesnecessity quotesair quotes
DAISIES It is possible, I suppose that sometime we will learn everything there is to learn: what the world is, for example, and what it means. I think this as I am crossing from one field to another, in summer, and the mockingbird is mocking me, as one who either knows enough already or knows enough to be perfectly content not knowing. Song being born of quest he knows this: he must turn silent were he suddenly assaulted with answers. Instead oh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselessly unanswered. At my feet the white-petalled daisies display the small suns of their center piece, their - if you don't mind my saying so - their hearts. Of course I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and narrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know? But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given, to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly; for example - I think this as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch - the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the daisies for the field.
daisies quotessuppose quoteslearn quoteslearn quotesworld quotesmeans quotescrossing quotesfield quotessummer quotesmockingbird quotesmocking quotesperfectly quotescontent quotesknowing quotessong quotesborn quotesquest quotesturn quotessilent quotessuddenly quotesassaulted quotesanswers quoteshear quoteswild quotescaustic quotestender quoteswarbling quotesceaselessly quotesunanswered quotesfeet quoteswhitepetalled quotesdaisies quotesdisplay quotessmall quotessuns quotescenter quotespiece quotesmind quoteshearts quoteswrong quoteshearts quotespale quotesnarrow quoteshidden quotesroots quotesheaven quotesplain quotessun quoteslights quoteswillingly quotesreach quotespick quotestouch quotessuitability quotesdaisies quotesfield quotes
LITTLE DOGS RHAPSODY IN THE NIGHT (PERCY THREE) He puts his cheek against mine and makes small, expressive sounds. And when I'm awake, or awake enough he turns upside down, his four paws in the air and his eyes dark and fervent. Tell me you love me, he says. Tell me again. Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over he gets to ask it. I get to tell.
Because of the dog's joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?
EVERY DOG'S STORY I have a bed, my very own. It's just my size. And sometimes I like to sleep alone with dreams inside my eyes. But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and creepy and I wake and am afraid, though I don't know why. But I'm no longer sleepy and too slowly the hours go by. So I climb on the bed where the light of the moon is shining on your face and I know it will be morning soon. Everybody needs a safe place.
dogs quotesstory quotesbed quotessize quotessleep quotesdreams quotesinside quoteseyes quotesdark quoteswild quotescreepy quoteswake quotesafraid quoteslonger quotessleepy quotesslowly quoteshours quotesclimb quotesbed quoteslight quotesmoon quotesshining quotesface quotesmorning quotessafe quotesplace quotes
But I want to extol not the sweetness nor the placidity of the dog, but the wilderness out of which he cannot step entirely, and from which we benefit. For wilderness is our first home too, and in our wild ride into modernity with all its concerns and problems we need also all the good attachments to that origin that we can keep or restore. Dog is one of the messengers of that rich and still magical first world. The dog would remind us of the pleasures of the body with its graceful physicality, and the acuity and rapture of the senses, and the beauty of forest and ocean and rain and our own breath. There is not a dog that romps and runs but we learn from him. The other dog-the one that all its life walks leashed and obedient down the sidewalk-is what a chair is to a tree. It is a possession only, the ornament of a human life. Such dogs can remind us of nothing large or noble or mysterious or lost. They cannot make us sweeter or more kind. Only unleashed dogs can do that. They are a kind of poetry themselves when they are devoted not only to us but to the wet night, to the moon and the rabbit-smell in the grass and their own bodies leaping forward.
extol quotessweetness quotesplacidity quotesdog quoteswilderness quotesstep quotesbenefit quoteshome quoteswild quotesride quotesmodernity quotesconcerns quotesproblems quotesgood quotesattachments quotesorigin quotesrestore quotesdog quotesmessengers quotesrich quotesmagical quotesworld quotesdog quotesremind quotespleasures quotesbody quotesgraceful quotesphysicality quotesacuity quotesrapture quotessenses quotesbeauty quotesforest quotesocean quotesrain quotesbreath quotesromps quotesruns quoteslearn quotesdogthe quoteslife quoteswalks quotesleashed quotesobedient quotessidewalkis quoteschair quotestree quotespossession quotesornament quoteshuman quoteslife quotesdogs quoteslarge quotesnoble quotesmysterious quoteslost quotesmake quotessweeter quoteskind quotesunleashed quoteskind quotespoetry quotesdevoted quoteswet quotesnight quotesmoon quotesrabbitsmell quotesgrass quotesbodies quotesleaping quotesforward quotes
Percy and Books Percy does not like it when I read a book. He puts his face over the top of it, and moans. He rolls his eyes, sometimes he sneezes. The sun is up, he says, and the wind is down. The tide is out, and the neighbor's dogs are playing. But Percy, I say, Ideas! The elegance of language! The insights, the funniness, the beautiful stories that rise and fall and turn into strength, or courage. Books? says Percy. I ate one once, and it was enough. Let's go.
percy quotesbooks quotesread quotesbook quotesputs quotesface quotestop quotesmoans quotesrolls quoteseyes quotessneezes quotessun quoteswind quotestide quotesneighbors quotesdogs quotesplaying quotespercy quotesideas quoteselegance quoteslanguage quotesinsights quotesfunniness quotesbeautiful quotesstories quotesrise quotesfall quotesturn quotesstrength quotescourage quotesbooks quotespercy quotesate quotes
Why I Wake Early Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who made the morning and spread it over the fields and into the faces of the tulips and the nodding morning glories, and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety - best preacher that ever was, dear star, that just happens to be where you are in the universe to keep us from ever-darkness, to ease us with warm touching, to hold us in the great hands of light - good morning, good morning, good morning. Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.
wake quotesearly quotessun quotesface quotesmade quotesmorning quotesspread quotesfields quotesfaces quotestulips quotesnodding quotesglories quoteswindows quotesmiserable quotescrotchety quotespreacher quotesdear quotesstar quotesuniverse quoteseverdarkness quotesease quoteswarm quotestouching quoteshold quotesgreat quoteshands quoteslight quotesgood quotesmorning quotesmorning quoteswatch quotesstart quotesday quoteshappiness quoteskindness quotes
That time I thought I could not go any closer to grief without dying I went closer, and I did not die. Surely God had his hand in this, as well as friends. Still, I was bent, and my laughter, as the poet said, was nowhere to be found. Then said my friend Daniel, (brave even among lions), 'It's not the weight you carry but how you carry it - books, bricks, grief - it's all in the way you embrace it, balance it, carry it when you cannot, and would not, put it down.' So I went practicing. Have you noticed? Have you heard the laughter that comes, now and again, out of my startled mouth? How I linger to admire, admire, admire the things of this world that are kind, and maybe also troubled - roses in the wind, the sea geese on the steep waves, a love to which there is no reply?
time quotesthought quotescloser quotesgrief quotesdying quotescloser quotesdie quotessurely quotesgod quoteshand quotesfriends quotesbent quoteslaughter quotespoet quotesfound quotesfriend quotesdaniel quotesbrave quoteslions quotesits quotesweight quotescarry quotesbooks quotesbricks quotesembrace quotesbalance quotesput quotesdown quotespracticing quotesnoticed quotesheard quoteslaughter quotesstartled quotesmouth quoteslinger quotesadmire quotesadmire quotesthings quotesworld quoteskind quotestroubled quotesroses quoteswind quotessea quotesgeese quotessteep quoteswaves quoteslove quotesreply quotes
I want to write something so simply about love or about pain that even as you are reading you feel it and as you read you keep feeling it and though it be my story it will be common, though it be singular it will be known to you so that by the end you will think- no, you will realize- that it was all the while yourself arranging the words, that it was all the time words that you yourself, out of your heart had been saying.
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting - over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
good quoteswalk quotesknees quoteshundred quotesmiles quotesdesert quotesrepenting quotessoft quotesanimal quotesbody quoteslove quotesloves quotesdespair quotesmine quotesworld quotessun quotesclear quotespebbles quotesrain quotesmoving quoteslandscapes quotesprairies quotesdeep quotestrees quotesmountains quotesrivers quoteswild quotesgeese quoteshigh quotesclean quotesblue quotesair quotesheading quoteshome quotesmatter quoteslonely quotesoffers quotesimagination quotescalls quotesharsh quotesexciting quotesannouncing quotesplace quotesfamily quotesthings quotes
Last night the rain spoke to me slowly, saying, what joy to come falling out of the brisk cloud, to be happy again in a new way on the earth! That's what it said as it dropped, smelling of iron, and vanished like a dream of the ocean into the branches and the grass below. Then it was over. The sky cleared. I was standing under a tree. The tree was a tree with happy leaves, and I was myself, and there were stars in the sky that were also themselves at the moment at which moment my right hand was holding my left hand which was holding the tree which was filled with stars and the soft rain - imagine! imagine! the long and wondrous journeys still to be ours.
night quotesrain quotesspoke quotesslowly quotesjoy quotesfalling quotesbrisk quotescloud quoteshappy quotesearth quotesdropped quotessmelling quotesiron quotesvanished quotesdream quotesocean quotesbranches quotesgrass quotessky quotescleared quotesstanding quotestree quotestree quotesleaves quotesstars quotesmoment quoteshand quotesholding quotesleft quotesfilled quotessoft quotesimagine quoteslong quoteswondrous quotesjourneys quotes
Every spring I hear the thrush singing in the glowing woods he is only passing through. His voice is deep, then he lifts it until it seems to fall from the sky. I am thrilled. I am grateful. Then, by the end of morning, he's gone, nothing but silence out of the tree where he rested for a night. And this I find acceptable. Not enough is a poor life. But too much is, well, too much. Imagine Verdi or Mahler every day, all day. It would exhaust anyone.
spring quoteshear quotesthrush quotessinging quotesglowing quoteswoods quotespassing quotesvoice quotesdeep quoteslifts quotesfall quotessky quotesthrilled quotesgrateful quotesend quotesmorning quotessilence quotestree quotesrested quotesnight quotesfind quotesacceptable quotespoor quoteslife quotesimagine quotesverdi quotesmahler quotesday quotesday quotesexhaust quotes