By Thomas Traherne 1637–1674
To walk abroad is, not with eyes,
But thoughts, the fields to see and prize;
Else may the silent feet,
Like logs of wood,
Move up and down, and see no good
Nor joy nor glory meet.
Ev’n carts and wheels their place do change,
But cannot see, though very strange
The glory that is by;
Dead puppets may
Move in the bright and glorious day,
Yet not behold the sky.
And are not men than they more blind,
Who having eyes yet never find
The bliss in which they move;
Like statues dead
They up and down are carried
Yet never see nor love.
To walk is by a thought to go;
To move in spirit to and fro;
To mind the good we see;
To taste the sweet;
Observing all the things we meet
How choice and rich they be.
To note the beauty of the day,
And golden fields of corn survey;
Admire each pretty flow’r
With its sweet smell;
To praise their Maker, and to tell
The marks of his great pow’r.
To fly abroad like active bees,
Among the hedges and the trees,
To cull the dew that lies
On ev’ry blade,
From ev’ry blossom; till we lade
Our minds, as they their thighs.
Observe those rich and glorious things,
The rivers, meadows, woods, and springs,
The fructifying sun;
To note from far
The rising of each twinkling star
For us his race to run.
A little child these well perceives,
Who, tumbling in green grass and leaves,
May rich as kings be thought,
But there’s a sight
Which perfect manhood may delight,
To which we shall be brought.
While in those pleasant paths we talk,
’Tis that tow’rds which at last we walk;
For we may by degrees
Pleasures of love and praise to heed,
From viewing herbs and trees.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Violin Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn (Movement II)
The Dead Man Walking
By Thomas Hardy 1840–1928
They hail me as one living,
But don't they know
That I have died of late years,
I am but a shape that stands here,
A pulseless mould,
A pale past picture, screening
Ashes gone cold.
Not at a minute's warning,
Not in a loud hour,
For me ceased Time's enchantments
In hall and bower.
There was no tragic transit,
No catch of breath,
When silent seasons inched me
On to this death ....
— A Troubadour-youth I rambled
With Life for lyre,
The beats of being raging
In me like fire.
But when I practised eyeing
The goal of men,
It iced me, and I perished
A little then.
When passed my friend, my kinsfolk,
Through the Last Door,
And left me standing bleakly,
I died yet more;
And when my Love's heart kindled
In hate of me,
Wherefore I knew not, died I
One more degree.
And if when I died fully
I cannot say,
And changed into the corpse-thing
I am to-day,
Yet is it that, though whiling
The time somehow
In walking, talking, smiling,
I live not now.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Andante funebre by Johan Svendsen
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost 1874–1963
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Gute Nacht by Franz Schubert
Running Away Together
By Maxine W. Kumin b. 1925
It will be an island on strings
well out to sea and austere
bobbing as if at anchor
green with enormous fir trees
formal as telephone poles.
We will arrive there slowly
hand over hand without oars.
Last out, you will snip the fragile
umbilicus white as a beansprout
that sewed us into our diaries.
We will be two bleached hermits
at home in our patches and tears.
We will butter the sun with our wisdom.
Our days will be grapes on a trellis
perfectly oval and furred.
At night we will set our poems
adrift in ginger ale bottles
each with a clamshell rudder
each with a piggyback spider
waving them off by dogstar
and nothing will come from the mainland
to tell us who cares, who cares
and nothing will come of our lovelock
except as our two hearts go soft
and black as avocado pears.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cinema Paradiso by Ennio Moriconne
A Farewell to Legs by Scott Fivelson
For audiobook, please visit www.loveandpublishing.com
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sergei Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 (Scherzo)