791. November Surf, by Robinson Jeffers

Some lucky day each November great waves awake and are drawn
Like smoking mountains bright from the west
And come and cover the cliff with white violent cleanness: then
The old granite forgets half a year's filth:
The orange-peel, eggshells, papers, pieces of clothing, the clots
Of dung in corners of the rock, and used
Sheaths that make light love safe in the evenings: all the droppings of
      the summer
Idlers washed off in a winter ecstasy:
I think this cumbered continent envies its cliff then…But all seasons
The earth, in her childlike prophetic sleep,
Keeps dreaming of the bath of a storm that prepares up the long coast
Of the future to scour more than her sea-lines:
The cities gone down, the people fewer and the hawks more numerous,
The rivers mouth to source pure; when the two-footed
Mammal, being someways one of the nobler animals, regains
The dignity of room, the value of rareness.

Source: The Selected Poetry Of Robinson Jeffers

792. The Beaver Pond, by Loren Eiseley

A beaver pond is so much like my mind
I look into its mirror and I glimpse
what lies up here behind my brows; I see
old sticks entangled that might be a thought
too stiff to move; the larval dragonfly,
stretching new wings into the glittering heat,
one hour ago was a masked deadly worm.
Within the shallows hover tiny fish,
minnows of thought, one might say, quick to go,
leaving the surface troubled, and dead leaves
fretted to merest skeletons like those
kept in late age someplace within the brain,
leached skeletons of girls, nameless, features etched away,
this one and that, the pain all sunk below,
not to be stirred, not ever to be stirred.
A beaver pond is silent, the leaves fall,
one leaf fell rather, without sound. This way
the pond accumulates, seeds sometimes grow
but mostly things lie here that try to work
their slow way back to the unreasoning mud.
It is a place of age, this mind, this beaver pond.
Into it I can stare, while thoughts like blue
great devil's darning needles pass, but where
I need not know, girls' skeletons, lost leaves—
what can one make of an old beaver pond?
Nothing, exactly nothing but a presence.
So, too, with mind, and so with God in essence.

Source: The Innocent Assassins

793. The Wren, by Chang Hua

The wren is a tiny bird.
It eats only a few grains;
it makes its nest
on a single branch;
it can only fly a few feet;
it takes up little space
and does no harm.

Its feathers are drab; it is useless
to humankind, but it
receives the force of life.

Ducks and geese can fly up to the clouds,
yet they are shot down with arrows,
for their flesh is plump.

Kingfishers and peacocks must die
because their feathers are beautiful.

The falcon is fierce, but is kept
on a tether; the parrot
is intelligent, but is locked
in a cage, where it is forced
to repeat its master's words.

Only the little wren,
worthless and unlovely,
is free.

(trans Eliot Weinberger; the spacing is mine)

Source: An Elemental Thing

794. Lala and La, by Jean Garrigue

Now that the first flowers are out,
What shall we ever do?
Rejoice, my dears, rejoice,
And kick up our heels.

And go to look at every one
New-come from the bud.
Not yet the tides of spring
Bring blossoms from the wood.
These are the ones that dare.

Yes, and welcome everywhere,
Welcome spider threads,
Welcome waked-up wasps,
And worms that the first birds need,

Welcome green-eyed love.
The boy is about.
Come now, not one tear.
Hear these violins of air.

Source: Studies for an Actress and Other Poems

795. "The warmth of their straw," by Yogesvara

The warmth of their straw borne off by icy winds,
time and again the peasants wake the fire
whose flame dies ever back, stirring with their sticks.
From the smoking bank of mustard chaff,
noisy with the crackling of the husks,
a penetrating odor spreads
to every corner of the threshing floor.

(trans Daniel H. H. Ingalls)

Source: Sanskrit Poetry from Vidyakara's Treasury