Into the Woods, 25: The Forest of Stories (Part III)
More "reading art" (for Ellen Kushner):

Down by the riverside


Oh Earth, Wait for Me
by Pablo Neruda

Return me, oh sun,
to my wild destiny,
rain of the ancient wood,
bring me back the aroma and the swords
that fall from the sky,
the solitary peace of pasture and rock,
the damp at the river-margins,
the smell of the larch tree,
the wind alive like a heart
beating in the crowded restlessness
of the towering araucaria.

Earth, give me back your pure gifts,
the towers of silence which rose
from the solemnity of their roots.
I want to go back to being what I have not been,
and learn to go back from such deeps
that among all natural things
I could live or not live; it does not matter
to be one stone more, the dark stone,
the pure stone which the river bears away.

Riverside 2

Riverside 3

"Is beauty a reminder of something we once knew, with poetry one of its vehicles? Does it give us a brief vision of that 'rarely glimpsed bright face behind/ the apparency of things'? Here, I suppose, we ought to try the impossible task of defining poetry. No one definition will do. But I must admit to a liking for the words of Thomas Fuller, who said: 'Poetry is a dangerous honey. I advise thee only to taste it with the Tip of thy finger and not to live upon it. If thou do'st, it will disorder thy Head and give thee dangerous Vertigos.' "

P.K. Page (The Filled Pen)

Riverside 4

"What I love is one foot in front of another. South-south-west and down the contours. I go slipping between Black Ridge and White Horse Hill into a bowl of the moor where echoes can't get out












and I find you in the reeds, a trickle coming out of a bark, a foal of a river"

--Alice Oswald (from "Dart," her gorgeous long poem about the River Dart in Devon)

Riverside 5

"My poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests."  - Pablo Neruda (in an interview, 1985)

Riverside 7

How Poetry Comes to Me
by Gary Snyder

It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light

Fingle Bridge

Howard & Tilly on Fingle Bridge

"Quoting Greek philosopher Plotinus, Tarnas writes, 'The stars are like letters that inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky. Everything in the world is full of signs. All events are coordinated. All things depend on each other. Everything breathes together.' For me, poetry is the music of being human. And also a time machine by which we can travel to who we are and to who we will become." - Carol Ann Duffy

The Fingle Bridge Pub


Ars Poetica
by Jorge Luis Borges

To gaze at the river made of time and water
And recall that time itself is another river,
To know we cease to be, just like the river,
And that our faces pass away, just like the water.

To feel that waking is another sleep
That dreams it does not sleep and that death,
Which our flesh dreads, is that very death
Of every night, which we call sleep. 

To see in the day or in the year a symbol
Of mankind's days and of his years,
To transform the outrage of the years
Into a music, a rumor and a symbol,

To see in death a sleep, and in the sunset
A sad gold, of such is Poetry
Immortal and a pauper. For Poetry
Returns like the dawn and the sunset.

At times in the afternoons a face
Looks at us from the depths of a mirror;
Art must be like that mirror
That reveals to us this face of ours.

Morris dancers 1

Morris dancers 2

Morris dancers 3

"This wounded Earth we walk upon
She will endure when we are gone
But still I pray that you may know
How rivers run and rivers flow..."

- Karine Polwart (from her song "Rivers Run")

"There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing." - John Cage

Publication credits: "Oh Earth, Wait for Me" by Pablo Neruda is from Pablo Neruda: Selected Poems, translated from the Spanish by Anthony Kerrigan; "How Poetry Comes to Me" by Gary Snyder is from his collection No Nature: New and Selected Poems; "Ars Poetica" by Jorge Luis Borges is from his collection Dreamtigers, translated from the Spanish by Mildred Vincent Boyers and Harold Morland. The short passage by Alice Oswald come from her book-length poem Dart (Faber, 2010), which I cannot recommend highly enough. It's simply gorgeous. All rights to the quoted text in this post reserved by their creators.