Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. you must let it find you.
— David Wagoner
Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
With other impetuous
Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
But be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.
— Alice Walker
It opens, the gate to the garden
with the docility of a page
that frequent devotion questions
and inside, my gaze
has no need to fix on objects
that already exist, exact, in memory.
I know the customs and souls
and that dialect of allusions
that every human gathering goes weaving.
I’ve no need to speak
nor claim false privilege;
they know me well who surround me here,
know well my afflictions and weakness.
This is to reach the highest thing,
that Heaven perhaps will grant us:
not admiration or victory
but simply to be accepted
as part of an undeniable Reality,
like stones and trees.
— Jorge Luis Borges
And what about this boulder,
knocked off the mountaintop and
tumbled down a thousand years ago
to lodge against the streambank,
does it waste itself with worry
about how things are going
to turn out? Does the current
slicing around it stop itself mid-
stream because it can’t get past
all it’s left behind back at
the source or up in the clouds
where its waters first fell
to earth? And these trees,
would they double over and
clutch themselves or lash out
furiously if they were to discover
what the other trees really
thought of them? Would the wind
reascend into the sky forever,
like an in-drawn breath,
if it knew it was fated simply
to sweep the earth of windlessness,
to touch everything and keep
nothing and be beheld by no one?
— John Brehm
All these maneuverings to avoid
The touching of hands,
These shifts to keep the eyes employed
On objects more or less neutral,
As honor, for the time being, commands,
Will hardly prevent their downfall.
Stronger medicines are needed.
Already they find
None of their strategems have succeeded,
Nor would have, no,
Not had their eyes been stricken blind,
Arms cut off at the elbow.
— Donald Justice