Monday, August 27, 2007

The Way Through the Woods

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods . . . .
But there is no road through the woods.

Rudyard Kipling 1865 – 1936

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Love's Trinity

Soul, heart, and body, we thus singly name,
Are not in love divisible and distinct,
But each with each inseparably link'd.
One is not honour, and the other shame,
But burn as closely fused as fuel, heat, and flame.

They do not love who give the body and keep
The heart ungiven; nor they who yield the soul,
And guard the body. Love doth give the whole;
Its range being high as heaven, as ocean deep,
Wide as the realms of air or planet's curving sweep.

Alfred Austin 1835 – 1913

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Within You Without You

We were talking
about the space between us all
and people who hide themselves
behind a wall of illusion
never glimpse the truth
then it's far too late
when they pass away

We were talking
about the love we all could share
When we find it
to try our best to hold it there
with our love, with our love
we could save the world
if they only knew

Try to realize it's all within yourself
no one else can make you change
And to see you're really only very small
and life flows on within you and without you

We were talking
about the love that's gone so cold
and the people who gain the world
and lose their soul
They don't know, they can't see
Are you one of them

When you've seen beyond yourself
then you may find
peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come
when you see we're all one
and life flows on within you and without you

George Harrison 1943 - 2001

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tears, Idle Tears

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awaken'd birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!

Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809 – 1892

Monday, August 6, 2007

Fiftieth Birthday Eve

The figure alone is enough to keep me wide awake,
the five with its little station master's belly
and cap with the flat visor, followed by the zero,
oval of looking glass, porthole on a ghost ship,
an opening you stick your arm into and feel nothing.

I want to daydream here in the dark, listening
to the trees behind the house reciting their poems,
bare anonymous beings, murmuring to themselves
in lines that reach out like long branches in spring.
I want my mind to be a sail, susceptible to any breeze
that might be blowing across the lake of consciousness.

But I keep picturing the number, round and daunting:
I drop a fifty-dollar bill on a crowded street,
I carry a fifty-pound bag of wet sand on my shoulders.
I see fifty yearlings leaping a fence in a field,
I fan the five decades before me like a poker hand.

I try contemplating the sufferings of others, Rossini,
for example, considered by many to be the Father
of Modern Insomnia for his prolonged sleeplessness
during the composition of the William Tell Overture.

But even a long meditation on the life of Brahms,
widely recognized as the Father of the Modern Lullaby,
will not dispel the fives and zeros, gnomes in the night,
perched on the bedposts, one straddling a closet doorknob.

By dawn, I have become a Catholic again,
the oldest altar boy in the parish, complete
with surplice and cassock, cruet, thurible, and candle.
And this day, whose first light is gilding the windows,
has become another one of the sorrowful mysteries,

following the agony in the garden of childhood
and preceding the crucifixion,
the letter X removed from the word and nailed to a cross,

the rest of the alphabet standing witness
on the rocky hillside, marveling at all the lightning
that is cutting silently across the dark sky.

Billy Collins 1941 -