Wednesday, August 16
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An Excursion
Plunging over Niagara you hold
this picture in your hand: a summer day
arranging itself serenely onward, a lawn,
daisies, roses, a single pine in the sky
with a crow flying and a flicker calling, then
all stopped in the camera, one tremendous
instant that the world will never achieve again.

Now you own that, just for the cost of reading
this page. Assemble yourself and go on.
Don't worry about it. No, I didn't
mean you really plunge over Niagara.
 - William Stafford



Tuesday, August 15
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"There is a noise when Justice is being dragged in the way where those who devour bribes and give sentence with crooked judgements, take her. And she, wrapped in mist, follows to the city and haunts of the people, weeping, and bringing mischief to men, even to such as have driven her forth in that they did not deal straightly with her."
"Talk is mischievous, light, and easily raised, but hard to bear and difficult to be rid of. Talk never wholly dies away when many people voice her: even Talk is in some ways divine."
 - Hesiod
translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White
Works and Days



"If we were all alike; if we were millions of people saying do, re, mi, in unison, one poet would be enough and Hesiod himself would do very well. Everything he said would be in no need of expounding or would have been expounded long ago.  But we are not all alike and everything needs expounding all the time because, as people live and die, each one perceiving life and death for himself, and mostly by and in himself, there develops a curiosity about the perceptions of others. This is what makes it possible to go on saying new things about old things. The fact is that the saying of new things in new ways is grateful to us."
 - Wallace Stevens
Opus Posthumous



Monday, August 14
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"My friend Suzie told me while I was driving her home from that bar about the real meaning of the blindfolded figure of Justice holding the scales. Suzie was drawing her own tarot cards and rethinking each card as she went. Justice, a book on classical lore asserted, stood at the gates of Hades deciding who would go in, and to go in was to be chosen for refinement through suffering, adventure, transformation, a punishing route to the reward that is the transformed self. It made going to hell seem different. And it suggested that justice is a far more complicated  and incalculable thing than we often imagine, that if everything is to come out even in the end, then the end is farther away than anticipated and far harder to estimate. It suggests too that to reside in comfort can be to have fallen by the wayside. Go to hell, but keep moving once you get there, come out the other side. Finally she drew a group around a campfire as her picture of justice, saying that justice is helping each other on the journey."
 - Rebecca Solnit



Sunday, August 13
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Letter to a Friend
Who knows what age will bring besides your death?
You think you see your future plod before you,
eventless, a blunt-tooth cog of certainty,

churning for years of noon in summer heat,
but haven't there been times when suddenly you saw
something which had been there all along

and nothing had changed but you, a certain slant
of age, perhaps, or disposition of the eyes,
some newfound sensitivity, awakened when

adversity scraped the skin of your perception?
The starving leaves now blaze with colors
not seen until articulated by the frost.

These years of erosion may yet uncover forgotten
ruins - your own, standing there like a child,
holding out the key to your next room.
 - Fred Dings
Eulogy for a Private Man



Friday, August 11
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Summer sings its long song, and all the notes are green.
But there's a click, somewhere in the middle
of the month, as we reach the turning point, the apex,
a Ferris wheel, cars tipping and tilting over the top,
and we see September up ahead, school and schedules
returning. And there's the first night you step outside
and hear the katydids arguing, six more weeks
to frost, and you know you can make it through to fall.
Dark now at eight, nights finally cooling off for sleep,
no more twisting in damp sheets, hearing mosquitoes'
thirsty whines. Lakes of chicory and Queen Anne's lace
mirror the sky's high cirrus. Evenings grow chilly,
time for old sweaters and sweatpants, lying in the hammock
squinting to read in the quick-coming dusk.
A few fireflies punctuate the night's black text,
and the moonlight is so thick, you could swim in it
until you reach the other side.
 - Barbara Crooker
beyond the fields we know



Wednesday, August 9
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"Summer is the season of motion, winter is the season of form. In summer everything moves save the fixed and inert. Down the hill flows the west wind, making wavelets in the shorter grass and great billows in the standing hay; the tree in full leaf sways its heavy boughs below and tosses its leaves above; the weed by the gate bends and turns when the wind blows down the road. It is the shadow of moving things that we usually see, and the shadows are themselves in motion. The shadow of a branch, speckled through with light, wavers across the lawn, the sprawling shadow of the weed moves and sways across the dust."
 - Henry Beston



Tuesday, August 8
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"Humans are tuned for relationship. The eyes, the skin, the tongue, ears, and nostrils - all are gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness. This landscape of shadowed voices, these feathered bodies and antlers and tumbling streams - these breathing shapes are our family, the beings with whom we are engaged, with whom we struggle and suffer and celebrate."
 - David Abram
The Spell of the Sensuous









  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov