I've read all the books but one
Only remains sacred: this
Volume of wonders, open
Always before my eyes.
Kathleen Raine, The Oracle in the Heart (The Dolmen Press 1980).
Allan Gwynne-Jones, "Spring Evening, Froxfield" (1922)
I mention the sun shower and the robin not because they are unique, and certainly not to display any special powers of observation on my part, for I have none. In a week's time, I likely will have forgotten the moment. In one sense, scenes such as this are commonplace. Yet that does not render them any less miraculous.
And though a week from now the robin and the sun shower may be "forgotten," will they indeed have vanished from my life? Or is there a place where these moments reside, and congregate?
Forest is multitude,
But one tree all, one apple-bud
Opens the flower of the world, infinite
Golden stamens and rose petals, here.
Kathleen Raine, Ibid.
Wanting to know all
I overlooked each particle
Containing the whole
Kathleen Raine, Collected Poems (Counterpoint 2001).
William Wigley (1880-1943), "Mevagissey Quay, Cornwall"
As I turned toward home, I came across a small puddle in the middle of the path. The puddle contained the whole of the blue sky, all of its stately white clouds. I often feel that I am not as grateful as I ought to be.
Incredible that anything exists -- this hotch-potch
World of marvels and trivia, and which is which?
Kathleen Raine, Living With Mystery (Golgonooza Press 1992).
I am reminded of a statement by Ludwig Wittgenstein, which has appeared here before, but which is worth repeating, since it provides a nice complement to Raine's poem: "Not how the world is, is the mystical, but that it is." An alternative translation is: "It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." Ludwig Wittgenstein, Proposition 6.44, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) (italics in the original). The first translation is by C. K. Ogden. The second is by David Pears and Brian McGuinness.
George Mackley (1900-1983), "Brackie's Burn, Northumberland"
Unbidden, the World bestows great gifts upon us. But we must be receptive and attentive. I nearly skipped my afternoon walk yesterday due to the uncertain weather. I considered taking a nap instead.
We mustn't forget: it is always possible to wake from a sound sleep and find oneself in a luminous World.
On a Boat, Awake at Night
Faint wind rustles reeds and cattails;
I open the hatch, expecting rain -- moon floods the lake.
Boatmen and water birds dream the same dream;
a big fish splashes off like a frightened fox.
It's late -- men and creatures forget each other
while my shadow and I amuse ourselves alone.
Dark tides creep over the flats -- I pity the cold mud-worms;
the setting moon, caught in a willow, lights a dangling spider.
Life passes swiftly, hedged by sorrow;
how long before you've lost it -- a scene like this?
Cocks crow, bells ring, a hundred birds scatter;
drums pound from the bow, shout answers shout.
Su Tung-p'o (1037-1101) (translated by Burton Watson), in Burton Watson, Selected Poems of Su Tung-p'o (Copper Canyon Press 1994). Watson includes the following note to line 12: "Drums were sounded in the bow when the boat was under way."
To make the imperfect perfect
It is enough to love it.
Kathleen Raine, Living With Mystery.
Claughton Pellew, "The Windmill, Sheringham" (1925)