someone else, just as the world
is split in halves, or hemispheres
if we want the word that says it
with a measure of beauty. Most times,
we do. But tonight, what
you get is halves. Tonight
what you get is another unanswered
question. Something like,
why do cyclones spin counter-clockwise
in this half of the world?
Something like my thoughts
in the shower, my body
washed by someone else,
and I’m thinking of dark matter,
not because my heart
on its haunches sits bleeding out
like last week’s roadkill possum,
its hateful mouth red raw,
but because dark matter is one more thing
I won’t ever understand.
No knowledge could I put on
that might plug the holes,
that might seal the chinks
through which my mind goes
after you. When I read
the absurd science
of how we might one day upload our minds,
it’s Ted Williams
I’m thinking of:
his severed head
poorly cared for
in its Kelvin crypt of absolute zero,
now cracked, now
the Splendid Splinter even in death.
And it’s that wish
I’m thinking of,
to come back better
to walk out onto the pliant summers
of our best years
when we knew sex to be
as easy, as assured,
Love, the dark
that waits holds
answers like a winning hand
and I’ve stopped
asking. Whatever I know,
I build it as a bird
builds her fragile bowl of a nest.
And in that nest a bird sings.
she sings to the yolk yellow world inside each blue egg
and for a time,
for as long as I can stand,
I listen.” —Paul Guest: The Numbers Are Not In (via grammatolatry)
For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I like out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” —Hermann Hesse (via smokefairies)