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The peach petals would like to stay,

But moon and wind blow them on.

You won’t find those ancient men,

Those dynasties are dead and gone.

Day by day the blossoms fall,

Year by year the people go.

Where the dust blows through these heights,

There once shone a silent sea.
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(translated by Gary Snyder)
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IV. Death by Water – T.S. Eliot

Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
and the profit and loss.

A current under the sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.

Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
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(from “The Waste Land” (1922))
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I feel that all the stars shine in me.

The world breaks into my life like a flood.

The flowers blossom in my body.

All the youthfulness of land and water smokes like an incense in my heart; and the breath of all things plays on my thoughts as on a flute.

II

When the world sleeps I come to your door.

The stars are silent, and I am afraid to sing.

I wait and watch, till your shadow passes by the balcony of night and I return with a full heart.

Then in the morning I sing by the roadside;

The flowers in the hedge give me answer and the morning air listens,

The travelers suddenly stop and look in my face, thinking I have called them by their names.

III

Keep me at your door ever attending to your wishes, and let me go about in your Kingdom accepting your call.

Let me not sink and disappear in the depth of langour.

Let not my life be worn out to tatters by penury of waste.

Let not those doubts encompass me,-the dust of distractions.

Let me not pursue many paths to gather many things.

Let me not bend my heart to the yoke of the many.

Let me hold my head high in the courage and pride of being your servant.

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The Jewel – James Wright

The Jewel

There is this cave
In the air behind my body
That nobody is going to touch:
A cloister, a silence
Closing around a blossom of fire.
When I stand upright in the wind,
My bones turn to dark emeralds.
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Jaan Kaplinski – To write more

To write more. To speak more. To whom?
How? Why? What sense does it make? Soon
we may be forced into silence. Soon
we may be forced to speak more
and more loudly. Who knows. But what
remains unspoken is always the most important:
this little man, this child, this
word, thought, and look of a child
deep inside you, you must guard,
you must defend and cherish.
And with it you will learn to speak,
and with it you will learn to be silent
if you must,
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(From “The Wandering Border” – translated from Estonian by the author
with Sam Hamill and Riina Tamm)

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God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.
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(translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)
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The crop is reaped and mice are coming in from the fields
to the farmhouse, and the owls follow them in.
Sometimes in the evening they call one another
from one corner of the garden to another. I found
a butterfly with worn-out wings in the grass – it could not
fly any more. One night while I went out to pee,
I saw the Milky way for the first time. A nutcracker
shrieked in the hazel hedge – the nuts are ripe.
The wasps abandoned their nests. They are flying
and feasting, slipping into beehives,
into jam cans and overripe apples;
and grasshoppers are sawing in the grass and on the trees
more and more loudly, and dolorous
as the summer’s last string knowing it will break.
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