"When our dream of the lovely and the true grows dim in our wavering thoughts; when the image of harmony falls from its high estate and is wrapped in the fogs and shadows of earth; when nothing survives of our affection or our hope; when we pass away on the ceaseless stream of time, fleeting irrevocably like the world around - my friends! she whom I have lost and you so far away, how can we congratulate ourselves on having had the gift of life?
What is there that can truly support us? What are we? A sorrowful blending of blind matter with free thought, of hope with bondage; urged on by an invisible breath in spite of our complainings, grovelling beneath clear skies on the miry soil, crawling like insects on the muddy paths of life; and yet until the very last moment, dreaming of the pure raptures of a destiny sublime."
Some kind of relaxed and beautiful thing kept flickering in with the tide and looking around. Black as a fisherman’s boot, with a white belly.
If you asked for a picture I would have to draw a smile under the perfectly round eyes and above the chin, which was rough as a thousand sharpened nails.
And you know what a smile means, don’t you?
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.
It was evening, and no longer summer. Three small fish, I don’t know what they were, huddled in the highest ripples as it came swimming in again, effortless, the whole body one gesture, one black sleeve that could fit easily around the bodies of three small fish.
Also I wanted to be able to love. And we all know how that one goes, don’t we?
the dogfish tore open the soft basins of water.
You don’t want to hear the story of my life, and anyway I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen
to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.
And anyway it’s the same old story – – – a few people just trying, one way or another, to survive.
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.
And look! look! look! I think those little fish better wake up and dash themselves away from the hopeless future that is bulging toward them.
And probably, if they don’t waste time looking for an easier world,
Frank stooped, pulled the lever, popped the trunk. Ma closed her jacket, pretended to preen over last year's garden, Clots and clumps of soil, the sunflowers solemn shepherds, soft shouldered. John and Harold put the suitcases in and Molly shifted her feet, crinkled her pretty dress's hem. She wanted to look nice so had forsaken her sweater. I kicked the tires, a half-hearted guise at a safety inspection. Then Joshua, the neighbour, clucked the sign with his tongue. They'd pull away. It would all pull away. It would begin its slow release around the borders.
up the logging road someone has preempted a fall, laid his own mechanical weight and burst the ballast, lulled the lumber in reverse, timbered the timber. it's all only a matter of time, they say, time for the soil to snatch the seed from the scat, time for the life force to buck and break the bract, time for the wood to reproduce, careening with cellular force, veneer methodically ironing itself out, or like an alien philosophy might slowly overtake its host, a decaying and susceptible well-primed nation—
We are given the trees so we can know
what God looks like. And rivers
so we might understand Him. We are allowed
women so we can get into bed with the Lord,
however partial and momentary that is.
The passion, and then we are single again
while the dark goes on. He lived
in the Massachusetts woods for two years.
Went out naked among the summer pines
at midnight when the moon would allow it.
He watched the aspens when the afternoon breeze
was at them. And listened to rain
on the butternut tree near his window.
But when he finally left, they did not care.
The difficult garden he was midwife to
was indifferent. The eight wild birds
he fed through both winters, when the snow
was starving them, forgot him immediately.
And the three women he ate of and entered
utterly then and before, who were his New World
as immensity and landfall, are now only friends
or dead. What we are given is taken away,
but we manage to keep it secretly.
We lose everything, but make harvest
of the consequence it was to us. Memory
builds this kingdom from the fragments
and approximation. We are gleaners who fill
the barn for the winter that comes on.