by Mary Oliver
die for it --
or the world. People
have done so,
their small bodies be bound
to the stake,creating
fury of light. But
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought
of China ,
and Europe , and I thought
how the sun
for everyone just
as it rises
under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?
What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call i
whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter
fire.Waiting in Line
by Nick Penna, fifth grade
When you listen you reach
into dark corners and
pull out your wonders.
When you listen your
ideas come in and out
like they were waiting in line.
Your ears don’t always listen.
It can be your brain, your
fingers, your toes.
You can listen anywhere.
Your mind might not want to go.
If you can listen you can find
answers to questions you didn’t know.
If you have listened, truly
listened, you don’t find your
self alone.Endless Streams and MountainsCh'i Shan Wu ChinBy Gary SnyderClearing the mind and sliding into that created space,a web of waters streaming overrocks,
air misty but not raining,
seeing this land from a boat on a lake
or a broad slow river,
The path comes down along a lowland stream
slips behind boulders and leafy hardwoods,reappears in a pine grove,
no farms around, just tidy cottages and shelters,
gateways, rest stops, roofed but unwalled work space,
—a warm damp climate;
a trail of climbing stairsteps forks upstream.
Big ranges lurk behind these rugged little outcrops—
these spits of low ground rocky uplifts
layered pinnacles aslant,
flurries of brushy cliffs receding,
far back and high above, vague peaks.
A man hunched over, sitting on a log
another stands above him, lifts a staff,
a third, with a roll of mats or a lute, looks on;
a bit offshore two people in a boat.
The trail goes far inland,
somewhere back around a bay,
lost in distant foothill slopes
& back again
at a village on the beach, and someone's fishing.
Rider and walker cross a bridgeabove a frothy braided torrent
that descends from a flurry of roofs like flowers
temples tucked between cliffs,
a side trail goes there;
a jumble of cliffs above,
ridge tops edged with bushes,
valley fog below a hazy canyon.
A man with a shoulder load leans into the grade.
Another horse and a hiker,
the trail goes up along cascading streambed
no bridge in sight—comes back through chinquapin or
liquidambars;another group of travelers.
Trail's end at the edge of an inlet
below a heavy set of dark rock hills.
Two moored boats with basket roofing,
a boatman in the bow looks
lost in thought.
Hills beyond rivers, willows in a swamp,
a gentle valley reaching far inland.
The watching boat has floated off the page.Walking The Marshland
by Stephen Dunn
It was no place for the faithless,
so I felt a little odd
walking the marshland with my daughters,
Canada geese all around and the blue
herons just standing there;
safe, and the abundance of swans.
The girls liked saying the words,
gosling, egret, whooping crane, and they liked
when I agreed. The casinos were a few miles
to the east.
I liked saying craps and croupier
and sometimes I wanted to be lost
in those bright
windowless ruins. It was April,
the gnats and black flies
weren't out yet.
The mosquitoes hadn't risen
from their stagnant pools to trouble
paradise and to give us
the great right to complain.
I loved these girls. The world
awaited their beauty and beauty
is what others want to own.
I'd keep that
to myself. The obvious
was so sufficient just then.
Blackbird. "Yes," I said.
But already we were near the end.
I thought. Praise whatever you can.
by Billy Collins
It is on dry sunny days like this one that I find myself
thinking about the enormous body of water
that lies under this house,
cool, unseen reservoir,
silent except for the sounds of dripping
and the incalculable shifting
of all the heavy darkness that it holds.
This is the water that our well was dug to sip
and lift to where we live,
water drawn up and falling on our bare shoulders,
water filling the inlets of our mouths,
water in a pot on the stove.
The house is nothing now but a blueprint of pipes,
a network of faucets, nozzles, and spigots,
and even outdoors where light pierces the air
and clouds fly over the canopies of trees,
my thoughts flow underground
trying to imagine the cavernous scene.
Surely it is no pool with a colored ball
floating on the blue surface.
No grotto where a king would have
his guests rowed around in swan-shaped boats.
Between the dark lakes where the dark rivers flow
there is no ferry waiting on the shore of rock
and no man holding a long oar,
ready to take your last coin.
This is the real earth and the real water it contains.
But some nights, I must tell you,
I go down there after everyone has fallen asleep.
I swim back and forth in the echoing blackness.
I sing a love song as well as I can,
lost for a while in the home of the rain.