Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.
Archive for the ‘poet’ Category
Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
When we are soft – when the world is underneath us; when we are lost with longing
Be a sparrow.
You knew before you knew all else that this was artifice – and you searched for self-instruction.
You learned to search for what was yours beyond modesty and immodesty.
Be that person again – with a broken wing – if there was ever truth in you, find it now. Be true to that which is best in you, and rides during the Spring, and mounts in its own language. Be true to that which is highest born in you. Let it all be alive in the alchemy.
Be choice. Be free and free, sister, in what was not lost from you – in what was finally heard correctly – in what is not theirs to hold. Your freedom is not theirs. So quick to hear what is not there – so slow to know.
We are here waiting for you. Be beloved. Sky, earth, wind, all.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of allnothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
— e.e. cummings
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work,
farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying.
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than
O I have been dilatory and dumb,
I should have made my way straight to you long ago,
I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted
nothing but you.
I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you,
None has understood you, but I understand you,
None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to
None but has found you imperfect, I only find no imperfection in
None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will never
consent to subordinate you,
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better,
God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.
Painters have painted their swarming groups and the centre-
figure of all,
From the head of the centre-figure spreading a nimbus of gold-
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its
nimbus of gold-color’d light,
From my hand from the brain of every man and woman it
streams, effulgently flowing forever.
O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you!
You have not known what you are, you have slumber’d upon
yourself all your life,
Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time,
What you have done returns already in mockeries,
(Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in
mockeries, what is their return?)
The mockeries are not you,
Underneath them and within them I see you lurk,
I pursue you where none else has pursued you,
Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the
accustom’d routine, if these conceal you from others or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me,
The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if
these balk others they do not balk me,
The pert apparel, the deform’d attitude, drunkenness, greed,
premature death, all these I part aside.
There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in
There is no virtue, no beauty in man or woman, but as good is
No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you,
No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for
As for me, I give nothing to any one except I give the like
carefully to you,
I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I
sing the songs of the glory of you.
Whoever you are! claim your own at an hazard!
These shows of the East and West are tame compared to you,
These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are
immense and interminable as they,
These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of
apparent dissolution, you are he or she who is master or mistress over them,
Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements,
pain, passion, dissolution.
The hopples fall from your ankles, you find an unfailing
Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest,
whatever you are promulges itself,
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided,
nothing is scanted,
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you
are picks its way.
In December, when draughts solidly
freeze and the lanterns
swing and linger, I go home.
The swinging pulls me.
Like a ricochet, a rocket, a see-saw,
a jig-saw, the swaying slowly
rocks me to the right position.
What lays loose and long before me are
a series of alphabets, snow-deep, marked against
the white. Deep-driven linguistic structures
in the snow.
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.
And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.
All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.
And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.
And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.