769. Air Mail, by Tomas Transtromer

I carried the letter through the city
in search of a mail box.
In the great forest of stone and concrete
fluttered that lost butterly.

The stamp's flying carpet
the address's staggering letters
plus my sealed-in truth
at this moment floating above the ocean.

The Atlantic's crawling silver.
The banks of clouds. The fishing boat
like a spit-out olive pit.
And the pale scar of its wake.

Down here work goes slowly.
Often I steal a glance at the clock.
The shadows of the trees are black ciphers
in the greedy silence.

Truth is there on the ground
but no one dares to take it.
Truth lies on the street.
No one makes it his own.

(trans Samuel Charters)

Source: For the Living and the Dead

770. Only They Can Whisper Songs of Hope, by Jane Goodall

The world has need of them, those who stand upon the Bridge,
Who know the pain in the singing of a bird
And the beauty beyond a flower dying:
Who have heard the crystal harmony
Within the silence of a snow-peaked mountain—
For who but they can bring life's meaning
To the living dead?

Oh, the world needs those standing on the Bridge,
For they know how Eternity reaches to earth
In the wind that brings music to the leaves
Of the forest: in the drops of rain that caress
The sleeping life of the desert: in the sunbeams
Of the first spring day in an alpine meadow.
Only they can blow the dust from the seeing eyes
Of those who are blind.

Yet pity them! those who stand on the Bridge.
For they, having known utter Peace,
Are moved by an ancient compasssion
To reach back to those who cry out
From a world which has lost its meaning:
A world where the atom—the clay of the Sculptor—
Is torn apart, in the name of science,
For the destruction of Love.

And so they stand there on the Bridge
Torn by the anguish of free will:
Yearning with unshed tears
To go back—to return
To the starlight of their beginnings
To the utter peace
Of the unfleshed spirit.
Yet only they can whisper songs of hope
To those who struggle, helpless, towards light.

Oh, let them not desert us, those on the Bridge,
Those who have known Love in the freedom
Of the night sky and know the meaning
Of the moon's existence beyond
Man's fumbling footsteps into space.
For they know the Eternal Power
That encompasses life's beginnings
And gathers up its endings,
And lays them, like Joseph's coat,
On the never changing, always moving canvas
That stretches beyond the Universe
And is contained in the eye
Of a little frog.

Source: Reason for Hope

771. Why, Then, Complain, by Vernon Watkins

Why, then, complain of evil days
If days you knew before were good?
That is a shallow kind of praise
Which cannot thrive on bitter food.

I know too great a recompense
For any tempest to destroy.
When joy has lost its last defence,
Then is the time to learn of joy.

Let discord beat about my ears,
I know too well what time may bring,
Nor can it touch the truest tears,
Such is the secret of their spring.

Source:  The Collected Poems of Vernon Watkins

772. "the patience of the universe," by Lucille Clifton

the patience
of the universe
is not without
an end

so might it
turn its back

so might it
walk away

leaving you alone
in the world you leave
your children

Source: The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010