“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Bolts of lightning from the sky
And plant them in fields of life.
They will grow like tender sprouts of fire.
Charge somber thoughts
With unexpected flash,
You, my lightning in the soil!”
– Visar Zhiti, The Condemned Apple: Selected Poetry
Barbed wires on rusted nails can’t hold
lone bulls at home when they smell pasture.
They thrust their bone skulls under barbs,
tongues quivering for a taste of strange
and shove until the post gives way. Days later,
we find wires sagging, reset the post,
and tighten bent wires like a fiddle
and rope the worn-out bull,
wishing there was only a fence
between us and our heart’s desire.
But something with spurs and a rope
would find us, cursing and yelling on horseback,
cutting us from escape down arroyos,
dragging us frothing and wild-eyed
back to the sun-bleached yellow range,
the same whirlpool of buzzards.
– “Riding Herd” by Walter McDonald
“Pale, without name or number,
In fruitless fields of corn,
They bow themselves and slumber
All night till light is born ;
And like a soul belated,
In hell and heaven unmated,
By cloud and mist abated
Comes out of darkness morn.”
– Exerpt from “The Garden of Proserpine” by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Evening! as slow thy placid shades descend,
Veiling with gentlest hush the landscape still,
The lonely battlement, the farthest hill
And wood, I think of those who have no friend;
Who now, perhaps, by melancholy led,
From the broad blaze of day, where pleasure flaunts,
Retiring, wander to the ring-dove’s haunts
Unseen; and watch the tints that o’er thy bed
Hang lovely; oft to musing Fancy’s eye
Presenting fairy vales, where the tir’d mind
Might rest beyond the murmurs of mankind,
Nor hear the hourly moans of misery!
Alas for man! that Hope’s fair views the while
Should smile like you, and perish as they smile!
– “Evening” by William Lisle Bowles
Deep with divine tautology,
The sunset’s mighty mystery
Again has traced the scroll-like west
With hieroglyphs of burning gold:
Forever new, forever old,
Its miracle is manifest.
Time lays the scroll away. And now
Above the hills a giant brow
Of cloud Night lifts; and from his arm,
Barbaric black, upon the world,
With thunder, wind and fire, is hurled
His awful argument of storm.
What part, O man, is yours in such?
Whose awe and wonder are in touch
With Nature,–speaking rapture to
Your soul,–yet leaving in your reach
No human word of thought or speech
Commensurate with the thing you view.
– “Sunset and Storm” by Madison Julius Cawein
I was ready for a new experience.
All the old ones had burned out.
They lay in little ashy heaps along the roadside
And blew in drifts across the fairgrounds and fields.
From a distance some appeared to be smoldering
But when I approached with my hat in my hands
They let out small puffs of smoke and expired.
Through the windows of houses I saw lives lit up
With the otherworldly glow of TV
And these were smoking a little bit too.
I flew to Rome. I flew to Greece.
I sat on a rock in the shade of the Acropolis
And conjured dusky columns in the clouds.
I watched waves lap the crumbling coast.
I heard wind strip the woods.
I saw the last living snow leopard
Pacing in the dirt. Experience taught me
That nothing worth doing is worth doing
For the sake of experience alone.
I bit into an apple that tasted sweetly of time.
The sun came out. It was the old sun
With only a few billion years left to shine.
– Suzanne Buffman, “The New Experience”