Manchmal, wenn ein Vogel ruft
Oder ein Wind geht in den Zweigen
Oder ein Hund bellt im fernsten Gehöft,
Dann muß ich lange lauschen und schweigen.
Meine Seele flieht zuruck,
Bis wo vor tausend vergessenen Jahren
Der Vogel und der wehende Wind
Mir ähnlich und meine Bruder waren.
Meine Seele wird ein Baum
Und ein Tier und ein Wolkenweben.
Verwandelt und fremd kehrt sie zuruck
Und fragt mich. Wie soll ich Antwort geben?
Sometimes the call of a bird
Or the rustle of wind-blown leaf,
Or the yelp of a dog, barely heard…
I am taken by laughter, then grief.
My soul flies back, aeons past
This life and so many others,
To a time when we all clove fast;
This bird and the wind were my brothers.
My soul becomes the tree,
A wisp of cloud, then a pond…
When, transformed, it comes back to me
Ripe with questions, how should I respond?
— translation by JJM
When I first came out to the country
…… I knew nothing. I watched
as people planted, harvested, picked
…… the berries, explained
the weather, tended the ducks and horses.
When I first came out to the country
…… my mind emptied and I
liked it that way. My mind was like a sky
…… without clouds, a summer sky
with several birds flapping across a field
…… on the eastern horizon.
I liked the slowness of things. The empty
…… town, the lake stillness,
the man I met who seemed contented, who
…… sat and talked in the dusk
about why he had chosen this long ago.
I did better dreaming then. the colors
…… were clear. I found something
important in myself: capacity for renewal.
…… And at night, the sky so intense.
Clear incredible stars! Almost another earth.
But now I see there are judgments here.
…… This way of planting or that.
The arguments about fertilizers and organics;
…… problems of time, figuring how
to allocate what we have. So many matters
…… to fasten on and dissect.
That’s the way it is with revelations,
…… If you live it out, you start
thinking, examining. The mind cries out
…… for materials to play with.
Right now, in fact, I’m excited about
…… several new vines and waiting
for the blackberry authorities to arrive.
by Lou Lipsitz
from Seeking the Hook
Signal Books 1997
He thought he kept the universe alone;
For all the voice in answer he could wake
Was but the mocking echo of his own
From some tree-hidden cliff across the lake.
Some morning from the boulder-broken beach
He would cry out on life, that what it wants
Is not its own love back in copy speech,
But counter-love, original response.
And nothing ever came of what he cried
Unless it was the embodiment that crashed
In the cliff’s talus on the other side,
And then in the far distant water splashed,
But after a time allowed for it to swim,
Instead of proving human when it neared
And someone else additional to him,
As a great buck it powerfully appeared,
Pushing the crumpled water up ahead,
And landed pouring like a waterfall,
And stumbled through the rocks with horny tread,
And forced the underbrush–and that was all.
— Robert Frost
When geometric diagrams and digits
Are no longer the keys to living things,
When people who go about singing and kissing
Know deeper things than the great scholars,
When society is returned once more
To unimprisoned life, and to the universe,
And when light and darkness mate
Once more and make something entirely transparent,
And people see in poems and fairy tales
The true history of the world,
Then our entire twisted nature will turn
And run when a single secret word is spoken.
Novalis (1772 – 1801), tr Robert Bly
Novalis was the pen name of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, a mystical German romantic, lawyer and geologist, philosopher and poet, who left us much wonder but little joy, and died very young.
To romanticize the world is to make us aware of the magic, mystery and wonder of the world; it is to educate the senses to see the ordinary as extraordinary, the familiar as strange, the mundane as sacred, the finite as infinite.
Numbers are alive for me, as if they sing and dance
All day a spreadsheet full of ciphers holds me in a trance
Data laugh and beckon me, I want to understand
While friends look blank and shake their heads at what for them is bland.
I wish that I could share with you the data-lover’s joy
The millstone of your weary toil, for me a bouncing toy.
Goethe, Maxwell and Piet Hein, Nick Herbert as “Jabir”
They saw the poetry in math, and earned the title “seer”.
If sentences can have aesthetics, why not numbers, too?
They leap to life and preach to me, (and so they might for you).
Look, stranger, on this island now
The leaping light for your delight discovers,
Stand stable here
And silent be,
That through the channels of the ear
May wander like a river
The swaying sound of the sea.
Here at a small field’s ending pause
Where the chalk wall falls to the foam and its tall ledges
Oppose the pluck
And knock of the tide,
And the shingle scrambles after the suck-
-ing surf, and a gull lodges
A moment on its sheer side.
Far off like floating seeds the ships
Diverge on urgent voluntary errands,
And this full view
Indeed may enter
And move in memory as now these clouds do,
That pass the harbour mirror
And all the summer through the water saunter.
— W. H. Auden