Richard Poirier and Stanley Cavell: two inspired guides into deepest Emerson

“Emerson says now and then that language might lead us back to human origins, that ‘language,’ as he says in ‘The Poet,’ is ‘fossil poetry.’ This implies that there are discoverable traces in language of that aboriginal power by which we invent ourselves as a unique form of nature. Frost in an Emersonian mood ends the poem ‘All Revelation’ with a tribute to this human inventiveness:

‘Eyes seeking the response of eyes

Bring out the stars, bring out the flowers,

Thus concentrating earth and skies

So none need be afraid of size.

All revelation has been ours. ‘”


A second coming?

The Second Coming
By William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Earth Day

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Earth Day
by Jane Yolen

I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Each blade of grass,
Each honey tree,
Each bit of mud,
And stick and stone
Is blood and muscle,
Skin and bone.

And just as I
Need every bit
Of me to make
My body fit,
So Earth needs
Grass and stone and tree
And things that grow here
Naturally.

That’s why we
Celebrate this day.
That’s why across
The world we say:
As long as life,
As dear, as free,
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.


Earth’s temple services

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Laddawan and her sister Maliporn

A Poem for Earth

She said: “I named him Earth because he was everything to me.”

He screamed a million times. She gave him a million kisses.

He never said a word.

He went into shock a million times. She held him and gave him hugs

a million times.

He never said a word.

She said: “I named him Earth because he was everything to me.”

He smiled at her a million times. She smiled at him a million times.

He never said a word.

She said: “I named him Earth because he was everything to me.

He was everything to me.”

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Laney Yarber, Laddawan, me and Joe, Laney’s son.

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Some of our friends.

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Distilled Wisdom

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A landscape painting from the Tang Era. 

No road to happiness or sorrow.–Chinese proverb.

Silly boys in time become silly old men.–Chinese proverb.

“I heard” is good. “I saw” is better.–Chinese proverb.

Water and words, easy to pour, impossible to recover.–Chinese proverb.

The house with an old grandparent harbors a jewel.–Chinese proverb.

You own ten fingers are unequaled.–Chinese proverb.

Before you beat the dog, learn his master’s name.–Chinese proverb.

Pleasures are shallow, sorrows are deep.–Chinese proverb.

One dog barks at a shadow, a hundred bark at his sound.–Chinese proverb.

Do not open a shop, unless you like to smile.–Chinese proverb.

Many a good face under a ragged hat.–Chinese proverb.

Rivers and mountains may change, human nature never.–Chinese proverb.

A bad word whispered will echo a hundred miles.–Chinese proverb.

Easier to rule a nation than a son.–Chinese proverb.

Without sorrows no one becomes a saint.–Chinese proverb.

Learning is treasure no thief can touch.–Chinese proverb.

While you are bargaining conceal your coin.–Chinese proverb.

Great doubts, deep wisdom. Small doubts, little wisdom.–Chinese proverb.

Cheat the earth…earth will cheat you.–Chinese proverb.

 


On this day 200 years ago, Henry David Thoreau was born.

 

WaldenThoreau spent two years, two months and two days in a cabin near Walden Pond where he wrote Walden. He spent a little over two years at the cabin, and used one year, the four seasons, as a metaphor for growth in Nature and in human nature. He was urged on in his inner pursuits by Ralph Waldo Emerson, his neighbor, who was firing up the emergent, new American imagination. Walden was Thoreau’s personal attempt at spiritual enlightenment and a flag for self-reliance in the search for inner growth and peace. Again, I have to say the book that opens up Walden like no other is Stanley Cavell’s Senses of Walden, which really should be read before reading Walden.

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Thoreau’s notebook journal from Nov. 11, 1858.


Dylan’s Nobel Prize Speech

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Here’s Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize speech, which is a peek at his inspirations, entanglements and bondings and the power of stories to convey word pictures of the world. I was surprised he barely  mentioned poetry.