My heart is so smallit's almost invisible.How can You placesuch big sorrows in it?"Look," He answered,"your eyes are even smaller,yet they behold the world."
in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so (forgetting seem)in time of roses (who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if, remember yesin time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek (forgetting find)and in a mystery to be
(when time from timeshall set us free)
forgetting me, remember me–E. E. Cummings
I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy.
Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge.
At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.
When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.
from My Antonia
I am learning to abandon the world
before it can abandon me.
Already I have given up the moon
and snow, closing my shades
against the claims of white.
And the world has taken
my father, my friends.
I have given up melodic lines of hills,
moving to a flat, tuneless landscape.
And every night I give my body up
limb by limb, working upwards
across bone, towards the heart.
But morning comes with small
reprieves of coffee and birdsong.
A tree outside the window
which was simply shadow moments ago
takes back its branches
twig by leafy twig.
And as I take my body back
the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap
as if to make amends.
7How many nights must it takeone such as me to learnthat we aren't, after all, madefrom that bird that flies out of its ashes,that for usas we go up in flames, our one workisto open ourselves, to bethe flames?
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labour, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.
Since then ‘tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.
We come at last to the darkand enter in. We are given bodiesnewly made out of their absencefrom one another in the lightof the ordinary day. We come
to the space between ourselves,
the narrow doorway, and pass through
into the land of the wholly loved.
This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems
When spring came I came alive again.
The air was finally gentle
and I breathed deeply of sweet
lilac and hyacinth and some faint
scent I couldn’t find or name.
It wafted through the house
like light, forgotten in our long
winter of darkness. The plums
and cherry trees around the block
were laced with flowerlets
and tiny leaves and made a subtle
dazzling of hope. Not a forgetting
but a softening, as if the harsh
outlines of loss were growing
over now with something like the tender
grass of spring, its blades a clear
luminous green, a color from childhood,
from a time before grief and its
terrible healing makes traitors of us all.
I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's self is,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud,
And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth,
And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the learning of all times,
And there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero,
And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel'd universe,
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.
And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God,
For I who am curious about each am not curious about God,
(No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about God and about death.)
I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least,
Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself.
Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass,
I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is sign'd by God's name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe'er I go,
Others will punctually come for ever and ever.
Song of Myself, Leaves of Grass
Here is an amazement — once I was twenty years old and in
every motion of my body there was a delicious ease,
and in every motion of the green earth there was
a hint of paradise,
and now I am sixty years old, and it is the same.
Above the modest house and the palace — the same darkness.
Above the evil man and the just, the same stars.
Above the child who will recover and the child who will
not recover, the same energies roll forward,
from one tragedy to the next and from one foolishness to the next.
I bow down.
How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.
The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.