Fearing that it might be crushed by an inattentive passer-by, I stayed beside it as it made its way toward the meadow beyond the pathway. (This is something we all do if the occasion arises. I am not seeking praise.) I watched it disappear safely into the fallen leaves and the short grass beneath a maple tree, the grass now green again with the autumn rain.
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).
Samuel Palmer (1805-1881), "The Gleaning Field" (c. 1833)