It took that pause to make him realize
The mountain he was climbing had the slant
As of a book held up before his eyes
(And was a text albeit done in plant).
Dwarf cornel, gold-thread, and maianthemum,
He followingly fingered as he read,
The flowers fading on the seed to come;
But the thing was the slope it gave his head:
The same for reading as it was for thought,
So different from the hard and level stare
Of enemies defied and battles fought.
It was the obstinately gentle air
That may be clamored at by cause and sect
But it will have its moment to reflect.
Robert Frost, A Witness Tree (Henry Holt 1942).
Alfred Parsons (1847-1920), "Meadows by the Avon"
Yesterday, near twilight, I walked beside a long puddle filled with intricate, innumerable bare branches, pink-tinged white sunset clouds, and darkening blue sky. The reflected world seemed to be another world entirely -- beautiful, but out of reach. A few moments later, still walking, the brilliant puddle now behind me, I realized how completely wrong I had been: what I had seen was the World. How could it be otherwise? Do you sometimes find it hard to believe that the World is as beautiful as it is? It is good to be reminded of one's ignorance. I receive this reminder every day. But the World never gives up on me.
"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 (May, 1954), in Philippe Jaccottet, Seedtime: Notebooks 1954-1979 (Seagull Books 2013), page 1.
Alfred Parsons, "Poplars in the Thames Valley"
Cloudy winter days sometimes end in a thin band of yellow sky at the edge of the horizon, along the blue-black silhouette of the peaks of the Olympic Mountains, beyond the waters of Puget Sound. That narrow strip of brightness has a beckoning aspect to it. A promise of sorts before a long winter night.
of stars, on the riverbank?
Sugiwara Sōi (1418-1485) (translated by Steven Carter), in Steven Carter, Haiku Before Haiku: From the Renga Masters to Bashō (Columbia University Press 2011), page 56.
Alfred Parsons, "On the Cotswolds"