Visual Meditation: Autumn Harbingers

Lake and Maple 

I want to give myself
as this maple
that burned and burned
for three days without stinting
and then in two more
dropped off every leaf;
as this lake that,
no matter what comes
to its green-blue depths,
both takes and returns it.
In the still heart that refuses nothing,
the world is twice-born —
two earths wheeling,
two heavens,
two egrets reaching
down into subtraction;
even the fish
for an instant doubled,
before it is gone.
I want the fish.
I want the losing it all
when it rains and I want
the returning transparanence.
I want the place
by the edge-flowers where
the shallow sand is deceptive,
where whatever
steps in must plunge,
and I want that plunging.
I want the ones
who come in secret to drink
only in early darknes,
and I want the ones
who are swallowed.
I want the way
the water sees without eyes,
hears without ears,
shivers without will or fear
at the gentlest touch.
I want the way it
accepts the cold moonlight
and lets it pass,
the way it lets
all of it pass
without judgment or comment.
There is a lake.
Lalla Ded sang, no larger
than one seed of mustard,
that all things return to.
O heart, if you
will not, cannot, give me the lake,
then give me the song.

-Jane Hirshfield


(photos taken on a morning walk around my neighborhood in Seattle) 

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

* Make sure to come visit this week’s Poetry Party! *

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5 Responses

  1. These photos are so beautiful and a reminder that aging and perhaps even death brings to us the clearest and dearest recollection of the living beauty and spirit of that which has departed.

    Your photos in the last few weeks have been spectacular. I have re-visited them and Lucy and I reflected together what beauty they’ve brought to our days. Thanks for sharing your talented eye and photos with us all!

  2. The poem and the pictures
    understanding exquisite beauty in aging —
    like a poem from old Japan by Lady Ise:

    I hear they are rebuilding
    Nagara Bridge in Naniwa.
    What is left
    For me now
    To compare myself to?

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