Green-Water Stream

 

To reach the Yellow-Flowered River

Go by the Green-Water Stream.

A thousand twists and turns of mountain

But the way there can’t be many miles.

The sound of water falling over rocks

And deep colour among pines.

Gently green floating water-plants.

Bright the mirrored reeds and rushes.

I am a lover of true quietness.   

Watching the flow of clear water

I dream of sitting on the uncarved rock

casting a line on the endless stream.

 

~Wang Wei

In Answer

 

In these quiet years growing calmer,

Lacking knowledge of the world’s affairs,

I stop worrying how things will turn out.

My quiet mind makes no subtle plans.

Returning to the woods I love

A pine-tree breeze rustles in my robes.

Mountain moonlight fills the lute’s bowl,

Shows up what learning I have left.

If you ask what makes us rich or poor

Hear the Fisherman’s voice float to shore.

 

~Wang Wei

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Light

I want to write of the light

but I do not know

whether words can illuminate

the way it hangs

upon branches and bird wings

and broken things

returning beings to beauty.

Can words spin substance

from sunshine and decay?

Can words cajole

celebration from night-weary

birds?

Can words warm surfaces

of stones and sorrows?

Can words reveal richness

in mundane

and battered

things?

I do not know.

But if we would write

a tomorrow

which is wider than wounds

we have worn,

we might wield words

like benedictions

and remember

blessings

within brokenness,

beginnings

within endings,

and beauty

within all things.

-Bernadette Miller

Work Song (Part 2), A Vision

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it…
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides…
The river will run
clear, as we will never know it…
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields…
Memory,
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisaical dream.
Its hardship is its reality.

~Wendell Berry