Stephen McKenna, "Foliage" (1983)
Here is a poem I sought out over the past few days.
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).
Cecil Gordon Lawson, "Cheyne Walk, Chelsea" (1870)
". . . we are saved/by humble windfalls/of mindfulness or memory."
My beloved friend
You and I had a sweet talk,
Long ago, one autumn night.
The year has rumbled along,
That night still in memory.
Ryokan (1758-1831) (translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa), in The Zen Poems of Ryokan (Princeton University Press 1981).
Harald Sohlberg, "Flower Meadow in the North" (1905)