Sunday, June 17, 2018

Voices

Yesterday evening, I sat listening to the birds chattering and singing outside the window, in the back garden.  There are so many worlds within the World!  Abiding before we arrive, abiding after we depart. A thought that brings with it a certain reassurance, and serenity.

                      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.

Anthony Eyton (b. 1923), "Oak Wood"

As I have noted here in the past, I am always pleased to see the ant hills appear in the seams of the sidewalks in late spring.  Mere grains of sand, yes; but, still.  I feel the same way when I hear the sound of grasshoppers off in the tall grass of a meadow on a sunny afternoon in early summer.  Eternity resides in these renewals and recurrences.

     Grasshopper!
Be the keeper of the graveyard
     When I die.

Issa (1763-1828) (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 4: Autumn-Winter (Hokuseido Press 1952), p. xxvi.

Michael Garton (1935-2004), "Woodland Clearing"

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Arrival

The World is reticent.  It keeps its own counsel.  And yet it is capable of communicating directly with us in an instant.  Perhaps I am being presumptuous, but I believe we have all experienced moments that have brought us, however briefly, close to the heart of the World.

                Islands

These new songs that I sing
     Were islands in the sea
That never missed a spring,
     No, nor a century.

A starry voyager,
     I to these islands come
Knowing not by what star
     I am at last come home.

Andrew Young, in Edward Lowbury and Alison Young (editors), The Poetical Works of Andrew Young (Secker & Warburg 1985).  The poem was originally published in Thirty-One Poems (John G. Wilson 1922).

These moments of communication do not involve the use of words. Words are a merely human peculiarity -- a necessary and beautiful peculiarity.  How else could we survive our short space of time here? But the feeling of arriving at the heart of the World is, alas and amen (to borrow from Walter de la Mare), beyond words.

William Bradley Lamond (1857-1924), "Forest Track"

Still, poets do their best to capture these rare moments with the tools that are available to humans.  Failure is inevitable.  But that is no reason for the poets to stop trying.  Or for us to cavil when their efforts fall short.  Words are not enough.  We can only be grateful for the approximate manifestations of Beauty and Truth that the poets bring to us.

As a context for the work of poets, and, more broadly, for how we place ourselves in the World on a daily basis, consider this:

"Proposition 6.52.  We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched.  Of course there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer.

"6.521.  The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem.

"(Is not this the reason why those who have found after a long period of doubt that the sense of life became clear to them have then been unable to say what constituted that sense?)

"6.522.  There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words.  They make themselves manifest.  They are what is mystical."

Ludwig Wittgenstein (translated by David Pears and Brian McGuinness), Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921).  The italics appear in the original text.

Wittgenstein's term "the sense of life" (in German, "der Sinn des Lebens") is a lovely way of describing what we may experience during one of those moments when the World communicates with us.  And, although science-enamored, ironic moderns may not like it, "mystical" is an entirely appropriate word to use when contemplating the possibility of arriving at a place where "the sense of life" becomes clear to us.

In the meantime, the poets, on our behalf, do their best to articulate those "things that cannot be put into words."

                           Infinity

This lonely hill was ever dear to me,
And this green hedge, that hides so large a part
Of the remote horizon from my view.
But as I sit and gaze, my mind conceives
Unending spaces, silences unearthly,
And deepest peace, wherein the heart almost
Draws nigh to fear.  And as I hear the wind
Rustling among the branches, I compare
That everlasting silence with this sound:
Eternity is mine, and all past ages,
And this age living still, with all its noise.
So in immensity my thought is drowned,
And sweet it is to founder in this sea.

Giacomo Leopardi (translated by Iris Origo), in Iris Origo, The Vagabond Path (Chatto & Windus 1972), page 182.

Leopardi's "silences unearthly" and "everlasting silence" bring to mind Wittgenstein's final proposition in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus:  "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."

William Bradley Lamond, "A Coastal Village"

At times, there is nothing to be said.  "There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words."  As human beings who traffic in language, this is hard for us to imagine.  But I would suggest that finding our way to the heart of the World requires the abandonment of certain things upon which we habitually rely.  Words, for instance.  Perhaps even more.

"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 (translated by Tess Lewis), notebook entry in May of 1954, in Seedtime: Notebooks, 1954-1979 (Seagull Books 2013), page 1.

Easier said than done.  I certainly would never claim to have attained the states of which Jaccottet and Wittgenstein speak.  At the most, fleeting glimmers and glimpses.  Inklings.  But what they say rings true to me.  I still hope to stumble upon the heart of the World.  For now, the poets keep me headed in the right direction.

                 Arrival

Not conscious
       that you have been seeking
              suddenly
       you come upon it

the village in the Welsh hills
              dust free
       with no road out
but the one you came in by.

              A bird chimes
       from a green tree
the hour that is no hour
       you know.  The river dawdles
to hold a mirror for you
where you may see yourself
       as you are, a traveller
              with the moon's halo
       above him, who has arrived
       after long journeying where he
              began, catching this
       one truth by surprise
that there is everything to look forward to.

R. S. Thomas, Later Poems (Macmillan 1983).

William Bradley Lamond, "Farm Scene"

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Life

On my walk yesterday afternoon (a clear, warm day, with a brisk wind), I came across a dead mole lying on its back at the side of the path.  He or she was a small, dark-brown thing, about eight inches long, its pinkish-white, fleshy front paws open to the sky.  It was those tiny, outspread paws that particularly touched me.

We were in the shade beneath the rustling leaves and swaying boughs of an avenue of trees, a bright canopy of blue and yellow and green flickering overhead, a patchwork of light and shadow moving on the ground.  Birdsong surrounded us, near and far.

That's all.

                  A Dead Mole

Strong-shouldered mole,
That so much lived below the ground,
Dug, fought and loved, hunted and fed,
For you to raise a mound
Was as for us to make a hole;
What wonder now that being dead
Your body lies here stout and square
Buried within the blue vault of the air?

Andrew Young, Speak to the Earth (Jonathan Cape 1939).

William Birch (1895-1968)
"Morning in June, the Vale of Dedham, Essex"

Monday, May 14, 2018

Time

Please accept my apologies for the silence, dear readers:  I have been on a two-week road trip, from which I have now returned.  I can report that all is well in this beautiful country:  spacious skies, purple mountain majesties, fruited plains, an ocean white with foam.  And, on top of all that, how can one not love a country that has seen fit to establish a James Dean Memorial Junction?  (Where California 46, curving away toward the live oak-dotted hills, the sea, and the sunset, meets California 41.)

Purely by happenstance, my trip included a visit to the university from which I graduated 40 years ago this year:  a campus located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, in Santa Barbara.  I had no madeleine moment.  However, I did idly muse:  Which is better (or worse):  to say that 40 years have passed or to say that four decades have passed?  

                    Arriving in Lo-yang Again

Those years, I was a green-youthed wanderer;
today I come again, a white-haired old man.
From those years to today makes one whole lifetime,
and in between, how many things have had their day and gone!

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 335.

Robert Fowler (1853-1926), "Knaresborough"

Four decades, forty years:  six of one, half a dozen of the other.  Time is what it is.  But the mere fact of that much distance is enough to give one pause.  Yet there are no grounds for regret or lamentation. After all, I am here to see that distance:  something that ought not to be taken for granted.  Gratitude is the appropriate response.

Still, passing through that changed yet unchanged place, I did wonder about a now-vanished young wight, all melancholy and expectation.  What has become of him?

Parthenophil is lost, and I would see him;
For he is like to something I remember
A great while since, a long, long time ago.

John Ford, The Lover's Melancholy, Act IV, Scene 3 (1628), in Iris Origo, The Vagabond Path (Chatto & Windus 1972), page 239.

William MacGeorge (1861-1931), "A Summer Day on the Solway"

When I arrived home yesterday, I could smell the lilacs (white and pale purple) in the garden as I got out of the car.  On my walk this afternoon, I discovered that, while I was away, spring arrived here in earnest.  "Yet still the unresting castles thresh/In fullgrown thickness every May./Last year is dead, they seem to say,/Begin afresh, afresh, afresh."  Forty years, four decades.  Gone.  Ever-present.

             Ah! Sun-flower

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1789), in David Erdman (editor), The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake (University of California Press 1982).

Fred Stead (1863-1940), "River at Bingley, Yorkshire"

Monday, April 23, 2018

Passing. Past. Perennial.

The time has come, dear readers, to return to my "April poem."  It is part of a group which includes my May poem ("The Trees" by Philip Larkin), my August poem ("A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts" by Wallace Stevens), and my November poem ("The Region November" by Stevens), each of which reappears here annually at its appointed time.  I beg your indulgence for asking you to accompany me on these pilgrimages.  Think of them as stepping stones across the year.

                    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).  The poem was first published in Kavanagh's Weekly on April 19, 1952.

A small and beautiful thing.  The less said, the better.

John Mitchell (1862-1922), "The Waterfoot, Carradale" (1921)

As I noted here a few years ago, I feel a sense of serenity when I contemplate the fact that the seasons will continue to come and go long after I have turned to dust.

Since late March I have been spending time with the poems in The Greek Anthology.  Recently, I came across this:

The world is fleeting; all things pass away;
Or is it we that pass and they that stay?

Lucian (120-200 A. D.) (translated by Walter Leaf), in T. F. Higham and C. M. Bowra (editors), The Oxford Book of Greek Verse in Translation (Oxford University Press 1938).

In one of his notebooks, Samuel Taylor Coleridge writes:

"The quiet circle in which Change and Permanence co-exist, not by combination or juxtaposition, but by an absolute annihilation of difference/column of smoke, the fountains before St Peter's, waterfalls/God! -- Change without loss -- change by a perpetual growth, that [at] once constitutes & annihilates change.  [T]he past, & the future included in the Present//oh! it is aweful."

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, notebook entry (April or May, 1806) in Kathleen Coburn (editor), The Notebooks of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Volume 2: 1804-1808 (Pantheon Books 1961), Entry 2832.

The italics and the slashes appear in the original text.  Given that Coleridge was in Italy at the time the entry was made, "the fountains before St Peter's" likely refers to the fountains in St Peter's Square in Rome.  Coleridge's use of the spelling "aweful" was not uncommon in his time.  The spelling provides a reminder that "awful" means "awe-inspiring," with one sense being "solemnly impressive; sublimely majestic."  Oxford English Dictionary (Second Edition 1989).  Of course, in our age the word usually means "causing dread; terrible, dreadful, appalling."  Ibid.  I am inclined to think that Coleridge was using "aweful" in the former sense.  But this is only a guess.

For me, "Wet Evening in April" embodies a feeling of permanence in the midst of unceasing change.  I know the melancholy of which Kavanagh speaks.  We all do.  As have all those who have come before us.  As will all those who will come after as.  The birds singing in the wet trees on an April evening accompany us all.

John Lawson (1868-1909), "An Ayrshire Stream" (1893)

But melancholy is not the whole of it.  For instance, when it comes to the birds of April, and of spring, we should remember Ben Jonson's translation of a fragment of Sappho:  "The dear good angel of the spring,/The nightingale."  (Ben Jonson, The Sad Shepherd, Act II, Scene VI, in H. T. Wharton, Sappho: Memoir, Text, Selected Renderings and a Literal Translation (John Lane 1907), page 96.)

Kavanagh knows this as well.  Thus, he brings us from April into May:

       Consider the Grass Growing

Consider the grass growing
As it grew last year and the year before,
Cool about the ankles like summer rivers,
When we walked on a May evening through the meadows
To watch the mare that was going to foal.

Patrick Kavanagh, Collected Poems.  The poem was first published in The Irish Press on May 21, 1943.

"Consider the grass growing/As it grew last year and the year before."  Never-ending, with us or without us.

Mary Jane Girardot (1863-1933), "Evening Glow" (1900) 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Spring. And All Else.

The poems that move us the most have an inexpressible mystery at their heart.  This is a dogmatic proposition that I cannot hope to defend on a rational basis.  It is a corollary to one of my two laws of poetry (which long-time -- and much-appreciated! -- readers of this blog may recall):  Explanation and explication are the death of poetry.  (For those who may be interested, my second law is this:  It is the individual poem that matters, not the poet.)

With those platitudinous truisms out of the way, let us consider, for instance, this:

            A Song for a Parting

                            I.
Flora will pass from firth to firth;
Duty must draw, and vows must bind.
Flora will sail half round the earth,
Yet will she leave some grace behind.

                            II.
Waft her, on Faith, from friend to friend,
Make her a saint in some far isle;
Yet will we keep, till memories end,
Something that once was Flora's smile.

William Cory (1823-1892), Ionica (Third Edition; edited by A. C. Benson) (George Allen 1905).  The poem originally appeared in the 1891 edition of Ionica.

William Cory is best known for his translation of a poem by Callimachus (c. 310 - c. 240 BC).  Callimachus's poem is found in The Greek Anthology.  Cory's translation, which has appeared here in the past, begins:  "They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,/They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed." It concludes:  "Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;/For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take." "Thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales" refers to Heraclitus's poems.

Who, or what, is "Flora"?  The Roman goddess of flowers and of spring?  Or is she a real person whose identity is cloaked in an evocative alias?  Or neither?  I have no idea.  Yet the poem still beguiles me, for it is a beautiful thing.  Flora is Flora.  Nothing more need be said.

James Torrington Bell (1898-1970), "Landscape"

As lovely and welcome as the arrival of spring is, I have lately found myself regretting the coming disappearance of the bare branches of the trees as the leaves emerge.  As one ages, it seems that life and the World take on a more elegiac cast.  I say this without a trace of melancholy, complaint, or foreboding.  The beautiful particulars of the World seem more beautiful to me with each passing year, with a beauty that continually unfolds, without end.  This no doubt has something to do with a quickening awareness of the evanescence of all things.  There is no getting around it:  time is short.  Yet an elegy need not be a lament.

And so I never tire of looking up at the breathtaking intricacy of interlacing empty branches against the sky, in any weather.  But particularly when, beyond the branches, white castles of cloud travel across the blue.  Nor will the shadows of those same branches spread out at my feet on a sunny day ever cease to be a source of wonder.

"A Song for a Parting."  Exactly.

     Simply trust:
Do not also the petals flutter down,
     Just like that?

Issa (1763-1828) (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 2: Spring (Hokuseido Press 1950), page 363.

James Torrington Bell, "Braes of Downie" (1938)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Beginning

When I looked out the front window on Saturday morning, I saw a few dozen sailboats out on Puget Sound.  The spring racing season has begun.  The sails, spread across the water from north to south, were a lovely, spirit-lifting sight.  Another version of Wordsworth's daffodils:  "a crowd, a host . . . fluttering and dancing in the breeze."

An annual confirmation of renewal, of beginning anew.  One feels that a page has been turned.

                                Kinsale

The kind of rain we knew is a thing of the past --
deep-delving, dark, deliberate you would say,
browsing on spire and bogland; but today
our sky-blue slates are steaming in the sun,
our yachts tinkling and dancing in the bay
like racehorses.  We contemplate at last
shining windows, a future forbidden to no one.

Derek Mahon, Antarctica (The Gallery Press 1985).

Henry Moore (1831-1895), "Catspaws Off the Land" (1885)

To the west, beyond the water and the sails, the peaks of the Olympic Mountains towered and gleamed, covered with a winter's worth of snow, their slopes mottled with shifting cloud shadows.  Everything was in its place.  A spring day can give one the feeling of having arrived safely home.  To begin again.

     The Chinese Restaurant in Portrush

Before the first visitor comes the spring
Softening the sharp air of the coast
In time for the first seasonal 'invasion.'
Today the place is as it might have been,
Gentle and almost hospitable.  A girl
Strides past the Northern Counties Hotel,
Light-footed, swinging a book-bag,
And the doors that were shut all winter
Against the north wind and the sea-mist
Lie open to the street, where one
By one the gulls go window-shopping
And an old wolfhound dozes in the sun.

While I sit with my paper and prawn chow-mein
Under a framed photograph of Hong Kong
The proprietor of the Chinese restaurant
Stands at the door as if the world were young,
Watching the first yacht hoist a sail
-- An ideogram on sea-cloud -- and the light
Of heaven upon the hills of Donegal;
And whistles a little tune, dreaming of home.

Derek Mahon, Collected Poems (The Gallery Press 1999).

John Anthony Park (1880-1962), "The Harbour, Polperro, Cornwall"

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Poem

A poem that has moved us stays with us, and often returns of its own accord.  Long ago, I cannot remember when and where, I purchased a collection of poems titled Northern Light.  It is a pleasing book to hold in your hands:  black covers, six-and-a-half inches wide, ten inches long, thin (only 66 pages), and printed on better-than-average, deckle-edged paper.  There is a single poem on each page, surrounded by a great deal of open space.

The book was published in London in 1930.  The colophon on the reverse side of the title page states:  "275 copies only for sale have been printed of NORTHERN LIGHT.  Each copy has been signed by the Author."  Immediately beneath the colophon is a tiny, neat signature in light blue ink (from a nib, not a ball-point):  "L. A. G. Strong."  Leonard Alfred George Strong (1896-1958) belonged to that now nearly extinct species known as "the English man of letters."  In addition to poetry, he wrote novels, short stories, plays, biographies, and literary criticism.  I first came to know of him through A New Anthology of Modern Verse, 1920-1940, which he co-edited with C. Day Lewis.

There are several lovely poems in Northern Light.  But there is one that stands out for me, and to which I return, either in my mind or by revisiting the book.  It is a poem that has appeared here in the past.

                           Garramor Bay

Now the long wave unfolded falls from the West,
The sandbirds run upon twittering, twinkling feet:
Life is perilous, poised on the lip of a wave,
And the weed that lay yesterday here is clean gone.

O visitor, fugitive creature, thing of a tide,
Make music, my heart, before the long silence.

L. A. G. Strong, Northern Light (Victor Gollancz 1930).

Yesterday evening, I was in a wistful, vaguely unsettled mood, for no particular reason, internal or external.  Was it the vernal equinox, perhaps?  No.  Just a mood.  But I suddenly felt the need to read "Garramor Bay."  There you have it.

Dane Maw (1906-1989), "Scottish Landscape, Air Dubh"

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Today

Today was sunny yet cool, a day of amber-yellow angled light and of tree shadows stretching across bright green fields.  Walking beneath the bare trees, looking up into the intricate branches set against the sky, I was brought up short by a sudden realization:  the six decades that I have been alive have led to this single instant, an instant in which I am walking at the point of my still unfolding existence, all of those 60-odd years trailing behind me, disappearing, on a brilliant day in early March.

James McIntosh Patrick (1907-1998), "Glamis Village" (1939)

I claim no uniqueness for this moment of awareness.  But it did hit me with a fair amount of force.  There was nothing sorrowful or melancholic in what I felt.  If anything, the moment was one of exhilaration and peace.

A few moments later, a passage by Marcus Aurelius came to mind. Upon returning home, I found it:

"If thou shouldst live three thousand years, or as many myriads, yet remember this, that no man loses any other life than that he now lives; and that he now lives no other life than what he is parting with, every instant."

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book II, Section 14, in Francis Hutcheson and James Moor (translators), The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (1742).

James McIntosh Patrick, "Springtime in Eskdale" (1935)

Earlier this evening, a haiku by Kobayashi Issa returned to me:

     Under moon and flowers,
Forty-nine years
     Of fruitless wandering.

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 4: Autumn-Winter (Hokuseido Press 1952), page 290.

Thus ends my report for today.

James McIntosh Patrick, "A City Garden" (1940)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Havens

Around the middle of the week before last, I read this:

          Heaven-Haven
      A nun takes the veil

     I have desired to go
          Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
     And a few lilies blow.

     And I have asked to be
          Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
     And out of the swing of the sea.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, in W. H. Gardner and N. H. MacKenzie (editors), The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (Oxford University Press 1967).

The poem's title may be an echo of the final line of George Herbert's "The Size":  "These seas are tears, and heav'n the haven."  Ibid, page 248.  "Blow" (line 4) is used in the sense of "to bloom" (a usage that, up until the 20th century, was common, but that has now, to our loss, nearly vanished).

The fragmentary beginnings of the poem appear in a notebook entry made by Hopkins in 1864 under the title "Rest."  Lesley Higgins (editor), The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Volume III: Diaries, Journals, and Notebooks (Oxford University Press 2015), page 203.  Hopkins converted to Catholicism two years later. Four years after his conversion, he took his vows as a Jesuit novice.

These background details may be of interest, but it is best to leave well enough alone, isn't it?  "Heaven-Haven" speaks for itself.  Any further comment is superfluous.  Nay, destructive.

John Inchbold (1830-1888), "Anstey's Cove, Devon" (1854)

"Heaven-Haven" was still with me when, last weekend, I happened upon this:

The kind of place
     where the way a traveler's tracks
disappear in snow
     is something you get used to --
such a place is this world of ours.

Princess Shikishi (12th century) (translated by Steven Carter), in Steven Carter (editor), Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology (Stanford University Press 1991), page 181.

Encountering Princess Shikishi's waka after reading "Heaven-Haven" was purely a matter of coincidence, but I always harbor the notion (an overly romantic notion, no doubt) that, when it comes to reading poetry, such coincidences are placed in our path for a reason.

By who or by what, you may ask.  I have no answer.  I could recur to this statement by Philippe Jaccottet, which appeared in my previous post:  "Of all my uncertainties, the least uncertain (the one least removed from the first glimmers of a belief) is the one given to me by poetic experience:  the thought that there is something unknown, something evasive, at the origin of things, at the very centre of our being."  Philippe Jaccottet (translated by Mark Treharne), Landscapes with Absent Figures (Delos Press/Menard Press 1997), page 157.

On the other hand, perhaps a more commonplace (yet still miraculous) explanation suffices.

Kerria in bloom:
a leaf, a flower, a leaf,
a flower, a leaf.

Taigi (1709-1771) (translated by Steven Carter), in Steven Carter (editor), Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology, page 402.  The poem is a haiku.

A leaf, a flower, a leaf, a flower, a leaf.  And so it goes with each of the World's beautiful particulars.  Throughout each of the seasons. Throughout our life.  Each encounter a pure coincidence.  Or not.

John Inchbold, "A Study, in March" (1855)

Finally, a few days ago, I revisited this waka:

To a mountain village
     at nightfall on a spring day
          I came and saw this:
blossoms scattering on echoes
     from the vespers bell.

Nōin (988-1050) (translated by Steven Carter), Ibid, page 134.  Nōin was a Buddhist monk.

The poem brought me back full circle to "Heaven-Haven."  A monk-poet in 11th century Japan.  A poet and a nun in 19th century England.  The beauty of poetry -- of the World -- is of a piece, at all times and in all places.

John Inchbold, "Bolton Abbey" (1853)