RAIN LIGHT

All day the stars watch from long ago
my mother said I am going now
when you are alone you will be all right
whether or not you know you will know
look at the old house in the dawn rain
all the flowers are forms of water
the sun reminds them through a white cloud
touches the patchwork spread on the hill
the washed colors of the afterlife
that lived there long before you were born
see how they wake without a question
even though the whole world is burning

— W.S. Merwin, from his Pulitzer-Prize winning book The Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)

early fall exists; aftertaste, afterthought;
seclusion and angels exist;
widows and elk exist; every
detail exists; memory, memory’s light;
afterglow exists; oaks, elms,
junipers, sameness, loneliness exist;
eider ducks, spiders, and vinegar
exist, and the future, the future

“Darwin was the kind of romantic who could stand in the middle
of a meadow like a statue for eight hours on end and let the
bees buzz in and out of his ear. A fantastic statue standing
there in the middle of nature, and all the foxes wandering by
and wondering what the hell he was doing there, and they sort
of looked at each other and examined the wisdom in each other’s
eyes. But this is a romantic man — when you think of any scientist
in history, he was a romancer of reality.”

-Ray Bradbury, Mars and the Mind of Man

HexaMeters

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You were asleep. I wake you. The vast morning brings the illusion of a beginning. You had forgotten Virgil. Here are the hexameters. I bring you many things. The four Greek elements: earth, water, fire, air. The single name of a woman. The friendship of the moon. The bright colors of the atlas. Forgetting, which purifies. Memory, which chooses and rediscovers. The habits which help us to feel we are immortal. The sphere and the hands that measure elusive time. The fragrance of sandalwood. The doubts that we call, not without some vanity, metaphysics. The curve of the walking stick the hand anticipates. The taste of grapes and of honey.”

— Jorge Luis Borges, “Obverse”

Make progress, and, before all else, endeavour to be consistent with yourself. And when you would find out whether you have accomplished anything, consider whether you desire the same things today that you desired yesterday. A shifting of the will indicates that the mind is at sea, heading in various directions, according to the course of the wind. But that which is settled and solid does not wander from its place.”

– Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Moral Epistles XXXV (On the Friendship of Kindred Minds)