Again and again, even though we know love’s landscape
and the little churchyard with its lamenting names
and the terrible reticent gorge in which the others
end: again and again the two of us walk out together
under the ancient trees, lay ourselves down again and again
among the flowers, and look up into the sky.
Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke
Painting, “Tuscan Landscape” by Ellen Thesleff
O you who are so sad and foresee horrors –
Ulysses in decline – is there no pool
of longing welling sweetly in that soul
for a pale
girl who dreams of shipwrecks, and who
Poem by Umberto Saba, “Ulysses.”
Painting “Ulysses and Calypso” by N.C. Wyeth.
O tu che sei si triste ed hai presagi
d’orrore – Ulisse al declino – nessuna
dentro l’anima tua dolcezza aduna
pallida sognatrice di naufragi
Poema da Umberto Saba, Ulisse.
Quadro di N.C. Wyeth.
Now all the doors and windows
are open, and we move so easily
through the rooms. Cats roll
on the sunny rugs, and a clumsy wasp
climbs the pane, pausing
to rub a leg over her head.
All around physical life reconvenes.
The molecules of our bodies must love
to exist: they whirl in circles
and seem to begrudge us nothing.
Heat, Horatio, heat makes them
put this antic disposition on!
This year’s brown spider
sways over the door as I come
and go. A single poppy shouts
from the far field, and the crow,
beyond alarm, goes right on
pulling up the corn.
“Philosophy in Warm Weather”
by Jane Kenyon
Swifts turn in the heights of air;
higher still turn the invisible stars.
When day withdraws to the ends of the earth
their fires shine on a dark expanse of sand.
We live in a world of motion and distance.
The heart flies from tree to bird,
from bird to distant star,
from star to love; and love grows
in the quiet house, turning and working,
servant of thought, a lamp held in one hand.
“Distances” by Philippe Jaccottet
Translated from the French by Derek Mahon
“Something he knew he had missed:
the flower of life.
But he thought of it now as a thing
so unattainable and improbable
that to have repined would have been
like despairing because one had not drawn
the first prize in a lottery.”
From Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence”
(See commentary in Reflection blog post.)