Saturday, March 28, 2015

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



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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