Saturday, March 28, 2015

Poetry about Losing One's Self In Nature: Playlist for March 27, 2015

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST OF THIS PROGRAM
 

After-Glow 

By  Ivor Gurney    

      

                           (To F. W. Harvey)

 

Out of the smoke and dust of the little room

 

With tea-talk loud and laughter of happy boys,

 

I passed into the dusk. Suddenly the noise

 

Ceased with a shock, left me alone in the gloom,

 

To wonder at the miracle hanging high

 

Tangled in twigs, the silver crescent clear.

 

Time passed from mind. Time died; and then we were

 

Once more at home together, you and I.

 

 

 

The elms with arms of love wrapped us in shade

 

Who watched the ecstatic west with one desire,

 

One soul uprapt; and still another fire

 

Consumed us, and our joy yet greater made:

 

That Bach should sing for us, mix us in one

 

The joy of firelight and the sunken sun.
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sonata in C for Flute by J.S. Bach
 
 

 
 

An Old-Fashioned Song
 

By  John Hollander  

 

 

(Nous n'irons plus au bois)

 

No more walks in the wood:

 

The trees have all been cut

 

Down, and where once they stood

 

Not even a wagon rut

 

Appears along the path

 

Low brush is taking over.

 

 

No more walks in the wood;

 

This is the aftermath

 

Of afternoons in the clover

 

Fields where we once made love

 

Then wandered home together

 

Where the trees arched above,

 

Where we made our own weather

 

When branches were the sky.

 

Now they are gone for good,

 

And you, for ill, and I

 

Am only a passer-by.

 

 

We and the trees and the way

 

Back from the fields of play

 

Lasted as long as we could.

 

No more walks in the wood.
 
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Silence of the Woods by Edvard Grieg
 
 
 

 

 

 

Mahayana in Vermont 

By  Sydney Lea  

 

 

My objectives this morning were vague.

 

As always I'd hike these hills—

 

a way to keep going

 

against the odds age deals,

 

a way to keep body and soul

 

together, and not so much thinking

 

as letting things steal into mind—

 

but I started counting

 

 

from the very first step I took.

 

I wore rank old boots, ill-laced,

 

and patchwork pants.

 

Around my neck hung the frayed

 

lanyard of a whistle I use

 

to summon our trio of dogs,

 

who capered and yelped their pleasure

 

at one of our walks,

 

 

and more miraculous still,

 

at having me for a master.

 

It's true in a sense

 

that I always count as I wander,

 

though it's usually the beats of a tune

 

(Thelonious's "Blue Monk"

 

a favorite) that mark my time.

 

These counts felt odder,

 

 

better. We scattered a brood

 

of grouse at step 91.

 

The deerflies strafed us.

 

At 500 a late trillium

 

glowed by a ledge like a lotus.

 

Right along the rain kept pounding.

 

I was mindful of all these things

 

but I never stopped counting.

 

 

Life was good, and more.

 

It was worthy of better response.

 

At 1000 I thought,

 

Enough—and counted on.

 

Nothing was coming to mind.

 

Nothing is coming again

 

from my hike half the day ago

 

with three dogs through rain

 

 

but a mystic sense of well-being

 

in quietly chanted numbers.

 

Whatever this trance,

 

I treasured it as a wonder

 

not to be wrenched into meaning,

 

as in Every second counts,

 

as in You should count your blessings,

 

though of those there seems no doubt.
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Quintet in C by Franz Schubert
 

 

 

Don’t Tell Anyone 

By  Tony Hoagland  

 

 

We had been married for six or seven years

 

when my wife, standing in the kitchen one afternoon, told me

 

that she screams underwater when she swims—

 

 

that, in fact, she has been screaming for years

 

into the blue chlorinated water of the community pool

 

where she does laps every other day. 

 

 

Buttering her toast, not as if she had been

 

concealing anything,

 

not as if I should consider myself

 

 

personally the cause of her screaming,

 

nor as if we should perform an act of therapy 

 

right that minute on the kitchen table,

 

 

—casually, she told me,

 

and I could see her turn her square face up

 

to take a gulp of oxygen,

 

 

then down again into the cold wet mask of the unconscious.

 

For all I know, maybe everyone is screaming

 

as they go through life, silently,

 

 

politely keeping the big secret

 

that it is not all fun

 

to be ripped by the crooked beak

 

 

of something called psychology,

 

to be dipped down

 

again and again into time;

 

 

that the truest, most intimate

 

pleasure you can sometimes find

 

is the wet kiss

 

 

of your own pain.

 

There goes Kath, at one pm, to swim her twenty-two laps

 

back and forth in the community pool;

 

 

—what discipline she has!

 

Twenty-two laps like twenty-two pages,

 

that will never be read by anyone.
 
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Troubled Water by Margaret Bonds
 
 

 

 

 

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