The Thought Of Something Else– Wendell Berry

“…that old dream of going, of becoming a better man just by getting up and going to a better place.”

A picture I took today.

A picture I took today.

Here is one of my favorite poems.
The Thought of Something Else by Wendell Berry.

1.

A spring wind blowing
the smell of the ground
through the intersections of traffic,
the mind turns, seeks a new
nativity—another place,
simpler, less weighted
by what has already been.

Another place!
it’s enough to grieve me—
that old dream of going,
of becoming a better man
just by getting up and going
to a better place.

2.

The mystery. The old
unaccountable unfolding.
The iron trees in the park
suddenly remember forests.
It becomes possible to think of going

3.

—a place where thought
can take its shape
as quietly in the mind
as water in a pitcher,
or a man can be
safely without thought
—see the day begin
and lean back,
a simple wakefulness filling
perfectly
the spaces among the leaves.

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All Too Soon

“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.”
–John Ruskin

all too soon

Today was such a beautiful autumn day. It makes me glad I live in New England.

The dead leaves sweep
through the winding roads
always moving with the wind

The bare trees stretch
out to the distant sky
reaching and reaching

The dim sun fades
into purple dusk
all too soon

Le Point Mirabeau

 

In my French class today I read the poem “Le Point Mirabeau” (or the “Mirabeau Bridge”) by Apollinaire. It’s really sad but beautiful and I wanted to share it with you all. Don’t worry, I found a good English translation by Richard Wilbur but I also included the original French version for some of my French speaking followers.

A picture I took in Paris along the Seine.

A picture I took in Paris along the Seine.

The Mirabeau Bridge

Below the Pont Mirabeau
Slow flows the Seine
And all our loves together
Must I recall again
Joy would always follow
After pain

Let night fall, let the hours go by
The days pass on and here stand I

Hands holding hands
Let us stand face to face
While underneath the bridge
Of our arms entwined slow race
Eternal gazes flowing
At wave’s pace

Let night fall, let the hours go by
The days pass on and here stand I

Love runs away
Like running water flows
Love flows away
But oh how slow life goes
How violent is hope
Love only knows

Let night fall, let the hours go by
The days pass on and here stand I

The days flow ever on
The weeks pass by in vain
Time never will return
Nor our loves burn again
Below the Pont Mirabeau
Slow flows the Seine

Let night fall, let the hours go by
The days pass on and here stand I

Et maintenant, en francais:

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine
Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Les mains dans les mains restons face à face
Tandis que sous
Le pont de nos bras passe
Des éternels regards l’onde si lasse

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

L’amour s’en va comme cette eau courante
L’amour s’en va
Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l’Espérance est violente

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Passent les jours et passent les semaines
Ni temps passé
Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

e.e. cummings

Today while in Boston I stumbled upon a very cute bookstore where I happened to find this e.e. cummings poem that really resonated with me. Hope you like it!

pretty book

who are you, little i

(five or six years old)
peering from some high

window; at the gold

of november sunset

(and feeling:that if day
has to become night

this is a beautiful way)

— e.e. cummings

Adventures in Yosemite: Hiking Half Dome

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
-Henry David Thoreau

pretty mountain

A few months ago I made the 18 mile trek to Half Dome, the most demanding day hike in Yosemite National Park. This arduous adventure was one of the most amazing and terrifying things I’ve ever done.

With a 4,800 feet elevation gain and many miles ahead of us my sister, her husband, and I started our day before dawn one late July morning. Waking up at 4:30 am was soon worth it when the sun began to rise. The mountains in the distance were graced with a sun streaked glow. Their outline was rising and falling in all directions, cascading across the illuminated skyline in the distance. Sitting in the back seat of the car my sleepiness faded into awe.

Once we arrived at the trail head we grabbed our backpacks and set off for the day. Only a few miles into our journey we heard rushing water and soon saw magnificent waterfalls in the distance. As we got closer the grass was damp with dew and we could feel the mist lightly falling around us.

waterfall two

Moving past the waterfalls on our left we found ourselves at the base of a very long set of rock steps curving around a waterfall and up further into the redwood-speckled mountains. Knowing the huge elevation gain, we figured this would be coming. But there were a lot of steps. My sister said it was even comparable to the steps at Machu Picchu.

Now above the rushing water we came to a bridge where my eyes fell upon the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen in nature. It was still early morning, maybe 9 am, and the sun was glimmering off the rushing water and illuminating the redwood trees. It was absolutely awe-inspiring to look at. I took a picture (below) but it barely captures how amazing it was in person.

prettiest thing

After miles and miles of more waterfalls, jagged rock steps, and water breaks, we finally reached the base of the summit. Although we were close, we still had longer ways to go.

The most difficult part about Half Dome is the last stretch to the top. In fact, it’s so difficult that I witnessed many grown men gaze up, shake their head, and turn back after one glance at what lay ahead.

Because Half Dome is so steep, the only way to reach the summit is to put on a pair of climbing gloves and physically pull yourself up the dome with the help of metal cables and wooden steps for your feet placed at three yard intervals.

To be completely honest, when I first saw this death trap I was ready to turn around. I couldn’t help but think that if for some reason I let go of the cables then things would not end well. I never thought that I would hike 18 miles and even consider not reaching the top. But I was considering it, and I almost turned back. I was only 17 years old and didn’t feel like falling off a mountain that day. But with some prodding from my brother-in-law and sister (if only my parents knew…), I made the decision. I had not come all this way for nothing.

the summit

So, feeling very adventurous I pushed past all the middle aged men too scared to climb up, and began. The entire time it took to get up, I never once took my eyes off the piece of cable wire in front of me. I knew if I looked to the sides, up, or even worse, down, I would want to turn back. I’m sure the view must have been amazing from that unique angle of hanging off the side of a cliff, but it really wasn’t worth a panic attack.

After about 25 minutes of pulling ourselves up, we were finally at the top. The view was absolutely astonishing. Breathtaking, in all senses of the word.

Gazing at the beauty that stretched out in all directions, I thought of this quote by Sylvia Plath:

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”

mount view

The First Gleam of Day

“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky.” -Khalil Gibran
pretty tree
To keep with the nature themed poems I’ve been posting recently, here’s another along with a picture I took last summer!

The young birch casts its shadow
across a lightly trodden path
under the first gleam of day
from the slowly rising sun

This magnificence, you see,
exists every day at dawn
how we would marvel if we always saw
what sleep often subdues

Sunset Silhouette

Here’s a poem I wrote a few months back while looking at this beautiful view!

so-amazing3.jpg When night swallows day
and the trees silhouette
the finger painted sky
Look up
you’re sad and you need a sunset
there’s only one a day

When the quiet of the forest
seems as lonely as your mind
listen closer, you’re not alone
there’s life in the trees
just because their hearts are silent
doesn’t mean they’re not beating