Wednesday, August 5, 2020

What Matters

Over the course of the marvelous year we have been enjoying, various thoughts by Marcus Aurelius have been returning to me.  As ever, the good Emperor has been there before we have, and knows a thing or two.  For instance: "How ridiculous, and like a stranger is he, who is surprised at any thing which happens in life!"  (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book XII, Section 13, in Francis Hutcheson and James Moor (translators), The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (1742), p. 285.)  Jeremy Collier, in his always piquant early-18th century style, renders the passage thus: "How unacquainted is that Man with the World, and how ridiculous does he appear, that makes a wonder of any thing he meets with here?" (Jeremy Collier (translator), The Emperor Marcus Antoninus: His Conversation with Himself (1701), page 229.) 

He's right, of course.  Natural calamity and human miscreance and malfeasance are par for the course.  And I'm sure that even in the Emperor's time reports of disaster and human folly were spread far and wide in bad faith, ignorance, and self-interest by the supercilious newsmongers of the day (even in the absence of such hallmarks of Human Progress and Enlightenment as Twitter).

In the meantime, bad news or not, the creators and preservers of that which is important proceed quietly about their business.  

                                   The Just

A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a café in the South, a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating a color and a form.
The typographer who sets this page well, though it may not please
     him.
A woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.

Jorge Luis Borges (translated by Alastair Reid), in Jorge Luis Borges, Selected Poems (edited by Alexander Coleman) (Viking 1999), page 449.
Richard Eurich (1903-1992), "The Window"

In the autumn of 1923, Ivor Gurney remained involuntarily confined in an asylum, as he had been since September of 1922.  "In Hell I buried a score-depth, writing verse pages."  ("Hell's Prayer," in Ivor Gurney, Selected Poems (edited by George Walter) (J. M. Dent 1996), page 64.)  If you ponder it for long, his life will break your heart.  Yet, as sad, desperate, miserable, and bedeviled as we was, he was at times more lucid and acute than any of us can hope to be.  In or around October of 1923, he wrote this:

                           The Escape

I believe in the increasing of life whatever
Leads to the seeing of small trifles . . . . . .
Real, beautiful, is good, and an act never
Is worthier than in freeing spirit that stifles
Under ingratitude's weight; nor is anything done
Wiselier than the moving or breaking to sight
Of a thing hidden under by custom; revealed
Fulfilled, used, (sound-fashioned) any way out to delight.
.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .
Trefoil . . . . hedge sparrow . . . . the stars on the edge of night.

Ivor Gurney, Ibid, page 46.  The punctuation (or lack of it) and the ellipses are in the original typescript.  The poem was not published in his lifetime.

Perhaps it is not my place to say so, but I don't think Ivor Gurney would want us to break our hearts in pity for him.  Rather, he would want us to read his poems (and listen to his music).  They tell us what matters.  They are what matters.
Richard Eurich, "The Road to Grassington" (1971)

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Near and Far

I find this to be an accurate and reasonable assessment of the present age:

"[A] multitude of causes, unknown to former times, are now acting with a combined force to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and, unfitting it for all voluntary exertion, to reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor.  The most effective of these causes are the great national events which are daily taking place, and the increasing accumulation of men in cities, where the uniformity of their occupations produces a craving for extraordinary incident, which the rapid communication of intelligence hourly gratifies."

And this, it seems to me, is a sound response to our distempered and unseemly contemporary world:

"More than half a century of existence has taught me that most of the wrong and folly which darken earth is due to those who cannot possess their souls in quiet; that most of the good which saves mankind from destruction comes of life that is led in thoughtful stillness.  Every day the world grows noisier; I, for one, will have no part in that increasing clamour, and, were it only by my silence, I confer a boon on all."

I suspect that many of you will have noticed that the two quoted passages come, not from our own time, but from the past.  The first passage is 218 years old: it appears in William Wordsworth's preface to the 1802 edition of Lyrical Ballads.  The second passage is 117 years old: it is from George Gissing's The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, which was published in 1903.  Hence, pick your truism. The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Or, if you prefer: There is nothing new under the sun.

Roger Fry (1886-1934), "Village in the Valley" (1926)

"They are not long, the days of wine and roses:/Out of a misty dream/Our path emerges for a while, then closes/Within a dream." Yesterday, while driving in my car, I heard Glen Campbell sing "Gentle on My Mind."  1967.  Ah, well.  All those years.  I was born during the first term of the Eisenhower administration.  Of history and its events, what remains for me is the death of President Kennedy (our elementary school principal announced it over the public address system on a sunny afternoon), the moon landing, the Vietnam War, and 9/11.  Unexpectedly hearing "Gentle on My Mind" on the car radio on an ordinary July afternoon.  How many times have I heard that song?  Where was I each time I heard it?  Who was I with?  What has become of them?  One song.  An entire lifetime returns.  History vanishes.

        Rising from My Sickbed

Alone and ill, I was confined to bed
But my dreams kept returning to my old haunts
This morning, at last, I managed to rise and
     stand beside the river
An endless trail of peach petals
     drifting down the stream

Ryōkan (1758-1831) (translated by Ryūichi Abé and Peter Haskel), in Ryūichi Abé and Peter Haskel, Great Fool: Zen Master Ryōkan: Poems, Letters, and Other Writings (University of Hawai'i Press 1996), page 123.

James Prowett (1865-1946), "Cruive Dykes, Craigforth" 

Is it inevitably the case that, as one grows older, the world of human affairs takes on an alien aspect, while the World of beautiful particulars becomes ever more hospitable?  On the other hand, one might arrive at that feeling at a young age, and find its truth confirmed by life.  Either way, there is indeed something to be said for possessing one's soul in quiet, for living "in thoughtful stillness," for having no part in the "increasing clamour." 

Happy were he could finish forth his fate
     In some unhaunted desert, most obscure
From all societies, from love and hate
     Of worldly folk; then might he sleep secure;
Then wake again, and give God ever praise,
     Content with hips and haws and bramble-berry;
In contemplation spending all his days,
     And change of holy thoughts to make him merry;
Where, when he dies, his tomb may be a bush,
Where harmless robin dwells with gentle thrush.

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (1566-1601), in E. K. Chambers (editor), The Oxford Book of Sixteenth Century Verse (Oxford University Press 1932).  The poem is untitled.

Percy Horton (1897-1970), "A Corner of Ambleside" (1943)

Sunday, July 5, 2020

How To Live, Part Twenty-Nine: Some Things Never Change

I am easy to please.  Each summer, I take delight in watching the tree tunnels I love further deepen, further interlace, as the boughs extend themselves outwards and upwards.  I notice the empty spaces that remain high up in the green and restless canopy, the sky that remains open, and I wonder how many years will pass before new bridges of leaves arch overhead.  Will I be here to see it happen?  Perhaps not. After all, I am merely an onlooker, passing through.  This is neither a lament nor a complaint.  To be aware that one is part of an ever-changing yet timeless World is a source of serenity.

                      The Truisms

His father gave him a box of truisms
Shaped like a coffin, then his father died;
The truisms remained on the mantelpiece
As wooden as the playbox they had been packed in
Or that other his father skulked inside.

Then he left home, left the truisms behind him
Still on the mantelpiece, met love, met war,
Sordor, disappointment, defeat, betrayal,
Till through disbeliefs he arrived at a house
He could not remember seeing before.

And he walked straight in; it was where he had come from
And something told him the way to behave.
He raised his hand and blessed his home;
The truisms flew and perched on his shoulders
And a tall tree sprouted from his father's grave.

Louis MacNeice, Solstices (Faber and Faber 1961).

As is often the case with MacNeice, there is an undertone of ironic knowingness present in "The Truisms," but I am willing to take the poem at face value.  As I have noted here before, I am quite content to live my life in accordance with certain truisms because, well, they are true.

Joshua Anderson Hague (1850-1916), "Landscape in North Wales"

Given the clamor of catastrophe and crisis we human beings are so fond of (2020 is no different than any other year in the history of humanity in this regard), an awareness of the World's continuity is not a bad thing.  It's not as if the World hasn't seen it all before.  Each of us has seen it all before as well, unless we haven't been awake.  

"Whoever lives two or three generations feels like the spectator who, during the fair, sees the performances of all kinds of jugglers and, if he remains seated in the booth, sees them repeated two or three times.  As the tricks were meant only for one performance, they no longer make any impression after the illusion and novelty have vanished."

Arthur Schopenhauer (translated by E. F. J. Payne), "Additional Remarks on the Doctrine of the Suffering of the World," in Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays, Volume 2 (1851; Oxford University Press 1974), page 299.

            Crofter

Last thing at night
he steps outside to breathe
the smell of winter.

The stars, so shy in summer,
glare down
from a huge emptiness.

In a huge silence he listens
for small sounds.  His eyes
are filled with friendliness.

What's history to him?
He's an emblem of it
in its pure state.

And proves it.  He goes inside.
The door closes and the light
dies in the window.

Norman MacCaig, in Ewen McCaig (editor), The Poems of Norman MacCaig (Polygon 2005).

Joshua Anderson Hague, "Late Autumn"

In January of 2019, I wrote here about the falling of a nearby big-leaf maple in a winter storm.  Yesterday afternoon, I walked past the space it once occupied.  I still feel the loss.  But its companions remain, and I know that in time the emptiness of the air will be filled.

                 Thoughts on T'ien-chin Bridge

The countless great lords and statesmen of past regimes --
later ages know them merely as a list of names.
Only the water under T'ien-chin Bridge
goes on year after year,  making the same sound.

Shao Yung (1011-1077) (translated by Burton Watson), in Burton Watson, The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry: From Early Times to the Thirteenth Century (Columbia University Press 1984), page 336.

Joshua Anderson Hague, "Haymaking"

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Ever-present

In mid-May, the ants emerged from hibernation and immediately embarked upon their yearly castle-building.  Early in June, the first pink blossoms opened on the wild rose bushes.  As the meadow grasses grew tall, the swallows arrived, and now each afternoon they skim quickly over the fields, curving, climbing, and diving for insects. The past week or so, right on schedule, the purplish-pink sweet peas began to bloom, and, as always, they are making their way onto the paths from the edges of the meadows.

Imagine that: the World just goes on being the World.  Beautiful, mysterious, unfathomable.  Taciturn, yet eloquent with Immanence.

               Nobody Knows

Often I've heard the Wind sigh
     By the ivied orchard wall,
Over the leaves in the dark night,
     Breathe a sighing call,
And faint away in the silence,
     While I, in my bed,
Wondered, 'twixt dreaming and waking,
     What it said.

Nobody knows what the Wind is,
     Under the height of the sky,
Where the hosts of the stars keep far away house
     And its wave sweeps by --
Just a great wave of the air,
     Tossing the leaves in its sea,
And foaming under the eaves of the roof
     That covers me.

And so we live under deep water,
     All of us, beasts and men,
And our bodies are buried down under the sand,
     When we go again;
And leave, like the fishes, our shells,
     And float on the Wind and away,
To where, o'er the marvellous tides of the air,
     Burns day.

Walter de la Mare, Peacock Pie: A Book of Rhymes (Constable 1913).

Robert Ball (1918-2009), "Mrs Barclay's Pond, Harborne" (1949)

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dew

And so, dear readers, our eventful year continues.  I tell myself that I should keep my counsel as the arsonists, statue-topplers, building-defacers, and looters articulate their deeply-held convictions about how the rest of us ought to think, feel, and live.  Their actions speak for themselves.  No gloss is necessary.  Yet I will say that two words have been in my mind over the past week or so:  "emptiness" and "vacuity."  As well as this:  "They have inquired and considered little, and do not always feel their own ignorance.  They are not much accustomed to be interrogated by others; and seem never to have thought upon interrogating themselves."  Samuel Johnson, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775), page 272.

The evil and lack of human decency on display are nothing new, alas. They are part of human nature -- always have been, always will be. One chooses one's path.

                                The Nightjar

We loved our Nightjar, but she would not stay with us.
We had found her lying as dead, but soft and warm,
Under the apple tree beside the old thatched wall.
Two days we kept her in a basket by the fire,
Fed her, and thought she well might live -- till suddenly
In the very moment of most confiding hope
She raised herself all tense, quivered and drooped and died.
Tears sprang into my eyes -- why not? the heart of man
Soon sets itself to love a living companion,
The more so if by chance it asks some care of him.
And this one had the kind of loveliness that goes
Far deeper than the optic nerve -- full fathom five
To the soul's ocean cave, where Wonder and Reason
Tell their alternate dreams of how the world was made.
So wonderful she was -- her wings the wings of night
But powdered here and there with tiny golden clouds
And wave-line markings like sea-ripples on the sand.
O how I wish I might never forget that bird --
Never!
                    But even now, like all beauty of earth,
She is fading from me into the dusk of Time.

Henry Newbolt (1862-1938), A Perpetual Memory and Other Poems (John Murray 1939).

Herbert Hughes-Stanton (1870-1937)
"The Mill in the Valley" (1892)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Choristers

The wild grasses that cover the meadows are deep green and growing tall.  Scattered amidst the swaying green, close to the ground, are small pinkish-purple wildflowers.  You have to look closely, or you will miss them.  Their name is unknown to me.  But I am acquainted with them, and I look forward to their arrival each May.

     Among the grasses,
A flower blooms white,
     Its name unknown.

Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 1: Eastern Culture (Hokuseido Press 1949), page 289.

There are those who seek to know the names of each of the beautiful particulars of the World, and I admire and envy their curiosity and diligence.  I wish them well.  We are all in pursuit of beauty, and I am in no position to say one path is better than another.  But I am, and shall remain, blissfully ignorant when it comes to the names of most of those beautiful particulars.  Thus, "the small pinkish-purple wildflower that comes in May" will suffice for me.

     The names unknown,
But to every weed its flower,
     And loveliness.

Sampū (1647-1732) (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 4: Autumn-Winter (Hokuseido Press 1952), page 123.

Stanley Spencer (1891-1959)
"The Ferry Hotel Lawn, Cookham" (1936)

Despite the inevitable importunities of Events, as magnified and distorted by the clamor, bad faith, and ultimate emptiness of "news," the World -- the real World -- quietly runs its serene course, and always will.  Nameless, profound.  We can attend to it, or not.  The choice is ours.

               The Knight in the Wood

The thing itself was rough and crudely done,
Cut in coarse stone, spitefully placed aside
As merest lumber, where the light was worst
On a back staircase.  Overlooked it lay
In a great Roman palace crammed with art.
It had no number in the list of gems,
Weeded away long since, pushed out and banished,
Before insipid Guidos over-sweet
And Dolce's rose sensationalities,
And curly chirping angels spruce as birds.
And yet the motive of this thing ill-hewn
And hardly seen did touch me.  O, indeed,
The skill-less hand that carved it had belonged
To a most yearning and bewildered brain:
There was such desolation in the work;
And through its utter failure the thing spoke
With more of human message, heart to heart,
Than all these faultless, smirking, skin-deep saints,
In artificial troubles picturesque,
And martyred sweetly, not one curl awry --
Listen; a clumsy knight, who rode alone
Upon a stumbling jade in a great wood
Belated.  The poor beast with head low-bowed
Snuffing the treacherous ground.  The rider leant
Forward to sound the marish with his lance.
You saw the place was deadly; that doomed pair,
The wretched rider and the hide-bound steed,
Feared to advance, feared to return -- That's all!

John Leicester Warren, Rehearsals: A Book of Verses (Strahan & Company 1870). (A side-note: "marish" (line 25) is not a misspelling. It is a precursor of "marsh.")

Stanley Spencer, "Rock Gardens, Cookham Dene" (1947)

How the World presents itself to us is ever a source of surprise and mystery, isn't it?  We need to be attentive and receptive, for it often appears in a humble guise, without pretense, making no demands, easily missed.

                    Aboard a Boat, Listening to Insects

As though delighting, as though grieving, each with its own song --
an idler, listening, finds his ears washed completely clean.
As the boat draws away from grassy banks, they grow more distant,
till the many varied voices become one single voice.

Ōkubo Shibutsu (1767-1837) (translated by Burton Watson), in Burton Watson, Kanshi: The Poetry of Ishikawa Jōzan and Other Edo-Period Poets (North Point Press 1990), page 92).

Stanley Spencer, "Scarecrow, Cookham" (1934)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Interval

"Days are where we live."  "For the days are long -- /From the first milk van/To the last shout in the night,/An eternity."  In the end, our life is a tangled skein of days.  From this welter, what can we retrieve, what remains with us?  Not days, but a handful of isolated, charmed moments.

The moments return, unaccountably, unbidden, in brilliant clarity. The days and years drop away.  Ah, yes.  So that was my life.  You may have known this at the time.  If so, you are fortunate.  Or you may come to know it only as a heart-catching pang of recognition -- distant, long-lost, but better late than never.

                                The Ash Grove

Half of the grove stood dead, and those that yet lived made
Little more than the dead ones made of shade.
If they led to a house, long before they had seen its fall:
But they welcomed me; I was glad without cause and delayed.

Scarce a hundred paces under the trees was the interval --
Paces each sweeter than sweetest miles -- but nothing at all,
Not even the spirits of memory and fear with restless wing,
Could climb down in to molest me over the wall

That I passed through at either end without noticing.
And now an ash grove far from those hills can bring
The same tranquillity in which I wander a ghost
With a ghostly gladness, as if I heard a girl sing

The song of the Ash Grove soft as love uncrossed,
And then in a crowd or in distance it were lost,
But the moment unveiled something unwilling to die
And I had what most I desired, without search or desert or cost.

Edward Thomas, The Annotated Collected Poems (edited by Edna Longley) (Bloodaxe Books 2008).

Duncan Grant (1885-1978), "Girl at the Piano" (1940)


"The way leads on . . . The road leads on."  "Does the road wind up-hill all the way?/Yes, to the very end."  Life is a journey.  We've heard that often.  Yet it is a few brief intervals of lucent stillness that ultimately stay with us.  "Scarce a hundred paces under the trees was the interval."  Evanescent.  But enough.  An aspect of eternity.

                            On the Road

Our roof was grapes and the broad hands of the vine
as we two drank in the vine-chinky shade
of harvest France;
and wherever the white road led we could not care,
it had brought us there
to the arbour built on a valley side where time,
if time any more existed, was that river
of so profound a current, it at once
both flowed and stayed.

We two.  And nothing in the whole world was lacking.
It is later one realizes.  I forget
the exact year or what we said.  But the place
for a lifetime glows with noon.  There are the rustic
table and the benches set; beyond the river
forests as soft as fallen clouds, and in
our wine and eyes I remember other noons.
It is a lot to say, nothing was lacking;
river, sun and leaves, and I am making
words to say 'grapes' and 'her skin.'

Bernard Spencer, With Luck Lasting (Hodder and Stoughton 1963).

Duncan Grant, "The Doorway" (1929)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Mystery

As I have mentioned here before, I often give myself this piece of advice as I begin my daily walk:  Stop thinking.  Pay attention.  I fail miserably each time, of course.  But the World always finds new and beautiful ways to gently shake us by the shoulders and whisper: "Wake up, pilgrim."  It is coy and persistent.  It demands nothing of us, but it is not going away.

Thus, on a recent afternoon, as I strolled in a daydream, I suddenly awoke to the sound of birdsong from all quarters of the earth and sky. An unrehearsed chorus of anonymous and solitary singers in a green and blue World, each of them singular and irreplaceable.

The notes they sang were "synonyms for joy," certainly.  But, coming from everywhere, in all their variations, unceasing yet uninsistent, the notes were something else as well.  Later that evening, this came to mind:  "One feels the life of that which gives life as it is."

                           The Wood

I walked a nut-wood's gloom.  And overhead
A pigeon's wing beat on the hidden boughs,
And shrews upon shy tunnelling woke thin
Late winter leaves with trickling sound.  Across
My narrow path I saw the carrier ants
Burdened with little pieces of bright straw.
These things I heard and saw, with senses fine
For all the little traffic of the wood,
While everywhere, above me, underfoot,
And haunting every avenue of leaves,
Was mystery, unresting, taciturn.
           .         .         .         .         .
And haunting the lucidities of life
That are my daily beauty, moves a theme,
Beating along my undiscovered mind.

John Drinkwater, Loyalties (Sidgwick & Jackson 1919).  The ellipses appear in the original.

Alfred Thornton (1863-1939)
"Hill Farm, Painswick, Gloucestershire"

"One feels the life of that which gives life as it is."  After I returned home from my walk, I noticed birds singing in the back garden.  They sang until the last pale light in the sky faded away.

     All the long day --
Yet not long enough for the skylark,
     Singing, singing.

Bashō (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 2: Spring (Hokuseido Press 1950), page 195.

Alfred Thornton, "The Upper Severn"

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Beneficence

A path I often follow takes me past a row of six willows.  They stand at the edge of a wide meadow which slopes down to the bluffs above Puget Sound.  I suspect the trees were planted sometime in the previous century, when what is now a city park was an army post.  I have wondered whether they were placed there by someone far away from home who longed for the willows of their past.  I have thought about the thousands of soldiers who transited through the post during World War II on their way to the Pacific.  A willow is a redolent thing.

Over the last month, their leaves have gone from yellow-green to green-yellow to full green.  As I walked beside them on a windy day earlier this week, their boughs tossed and swayed with the deep sound of summer.  As I came to the final willow in the row, a single green leaf floated down in front of me.

A random occurrence.  Just one of those things.

               Shinto

When sorrow lays us low
for a second we are saved
by humble windfalls
of mindfulness or memory:
the taste of a fruit, the taste of water,
that face given back to us by a dream,
the first jasmine of November,
the endless yearning of the compass,
a book we thought was lost,
the throb of a hexameter,
the slight key that opens a house to us,
the smell of a library, or of sandalwood,
the former name of a street,
the colors of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date we were looking for,
the twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count,
a sudden physical pain.

Eight million Shinto deities
travel secretly throughout the earth.
Those modest gods touch us --
touch us and move on.

Jorge Luis Borges (translated by Hoyt Rogers), in Jorge Luis Borges, Selected Poems (edited by Alexander Coleman) (Viking 1999).

Harald Sohlberg (1869-1935), "Flower Meadow in the North" (1905)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Here

What most human beings want is a little peace and quiet, don't you think?  Although we may be caught up in unwonted Events at the present time, the cultivation of "A Quiet Normal Life" goes on. Marcus Aurelius is correct: "The things themselves reach not to the soul, but stand without, still and motionless.  All your perturbation comes from inward opinions about them."  Meditations, Book IV, Section 3 (translated by Francis Hutcheson and James Moor, 1742). This is a roundabout way of telling you, dear readers, that it is once again time (begging your forbearance) to revisit my "April poem" (companion to my May, August, and November poems):

                    Wet Evening in April

The birds sang in the wet trees
And as I listened to them it was a hundred years from now
And I was dead and someone else was listening to them.
But I was glad I had recorded for him the melancholy.

Patrick Kavanagh, Collected Poems (edited by Antoinette Quinn) (Penguin 2004).

Most Aprils when I return to "Wet Evening in April" the weather in this part of the world is in harmony with the setting and the mood of the poem.  Thus, on more than one occasion I have read the poem on a rainy evening as birds converse in the trees before they settle down for the night.  But this April has been gratuitously brilliant, and on my walk this afternoon I passed through a "bee-loud glade," and the trees in all directions whispered: "Begin afresh, afresh, afresh."  I'm afraid I cannot muster any melancholy.  Yet the poem is as beautiful as ever.  We never know who we will be, or where we will find ourselves, when we revisit a poem, do we?

Robert Fowler (1853-1926), "Knaresborough"

The Events come and go, and take us or leave us.  But Patrick Kavanagh and Marcus Aurelius intimate that there is more to each of us than meets the eye.  The Events are not us.  Philippe Jaccottet brings this to our attention as well: "The imperceptible movement of an invisible soul and the enormous sun."  Philippe Jaccottet, notebook entry (October, 1967), in Seedtime: Notebooks, 1954-79 (translated by Tess Lewis) (Seagull Books 2013), page 159.  And this:

"Attachment to the self renders life more opaque.  One moment of complete forgetting and all the screens, one behind the other, become transparent so that you can perceive clarity to its very depths, as far as the eye can see; and at the same time everything becomes weightless.  Thus does the soul truly become a bird."

Philippe Jaccottet, notebook entry (May, 1954), Ibid, page 1.

In each moment, the Events are absent, meaningless.  There is more afoot in the World.

     The spring rain:
Between the trees is seen
     A path to the sea.

Otsuji (1881-1920) (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 2: Spring (Hokuseido Press 1950), page 104.

William Mouncey (1852-1901), "Kirkcudbright Harbour"