Arranged by Annie Dillard from Mikhail Prishvin, Nature’s Diary, 1925
How wonderfully it was all arranged that each
Of us had not too long to live. This is one
Of the main snags—the shortness of the day.
The whole wood was whispering, “Dash it, dash it . . .”
What joy—to walk along that path! The snow
Was so fragrant in the sun! What a fish!
Whenever I think of death, the same stupid
Question arises: “What’s to be done?”
As for myself, I can only speak of what
Made me marvel when I saw it for the first time.
I remember my own youth when I was in love.
I remember a puddle rippling, the insects aroused.
I remember our own springtime when my lady told me:
You have taken my best. And then I remember
How many evenings I have waited, how much
I have been through for this one evening on earth.
In Mornings Like This: Found Poems. Annie Dillard (Harper Perennial, 1996), 1.
Yes, it is a beautiful country,
the streams in the winding valley,
the knows and the birches,
and beautiful the mountain’s bare shoulder
and the calm brows of the hills,
but it is not my country,
and in my heart there is a hollow place always.
And there is no way to go back—
maybe the miles indeed, but the years never.
Winding are the roads that we choose,
and inexorable is life,
driving us, it seems, like cattle
farther and farther away from what we remember.
But when we shall come at last
to God, who is our Home and Country,
there will be no more road stretching before us
and no more need to go back.
In The Poetic Bible, collected by C Duriez (Hendrickson Pub.s 2001), 184).
MY COCOON TIGHTENS, COLORS TEASE
by Emily Dickinson
My cocoon tightens, colors tease,
I’m feeling for the air;
A dim capacity for wings
Demeans the dress I wear.
A power of butterfly must be
The aptitude to fly,
Meadows of majesty concedes
And easy sweeps the sky.
So I must baffle at the hint
And cipher at the sign,
And make much blunder, if at last
I take the clue divine.
In Selected Poems & Letters of Emily Dickinson. RN Linscott, ed (Doubleday 1959), 175.