May 21 2011

Life is the rose’s hope…

From the randomly-opened pages of the Complete Poems of John Keats, (Modern Library Edition):

Stop and consider! life is but a day;
A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way
From a tree’s summit; a poor Indian’s sleep
While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep
Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan?
Life is the rose’s hope while yet unblown;
The reading of an ever-changing tale;
The light uplifting of a maiden’s veil;
A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air;
A laughing school-boy, without grief or care,
Riding the springy branches of an elm.

–from “Sleep and Poetry”

Oct 14 2009

from A River Dies of Thirst (p.59)

A River Dies of Thirst, Mahmoud Darwish

A River Dies of Thirst, Mahmoud Darwish

Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed by life, I’ll pick up random books from my shelves and open them to random pages.  It’s a habit I’ve had since I was a very young girl and I’m sorry to say that it originally came from reading Richard Bach’s Illuminations. But now, I’m not looking for messages from the universe. It is more like having a mental reset button, or seeking a change of internal scenery. If I’m lucky, I’ll breathe in the words, and life will be a little bit different when I look back up from the page. If that happens, I’ll post it here.

Summer and winter

There is nothing new. The seasons here are two:
a summer as long as a far away minaret
and a winter like a nun praying
As for spring
it cannot stop
except to say: ‘Greetings to you
on Ascension Day’
While autumn
is merely a place of seclusion
in which to contemplate how much of our life we have lost
on the return journey
‘Where did we leave our life behind?’ I asked the butterfly
circling around in the light
and it burnt up in its tears.

-Mahmoud Darwish, A River Dies of Thirst (Archipelago Books, 2009)