Leisure, Will Davies
Happiness, Raymond Carver
Warning, Jenny Joseph
Over the River and Through the Wood, Lydia Child
I Can’t Remember, Anonymous
A Thirst For Simple Light, Mark Nepo
The Self-Slaved, Patrick Kavanaugh
When I’m 64, The Beatles
The Opening of Eyes, David Whyte
You Are Old, Father William, Lewis Carroll
I Know The Way You Can Get, Hafez
Poetry Arrived, Pablo Nerruda
Authorship, James Naylor


 
 
 

Leisure
by Will Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And Watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

 
 
 

Happiness
by Raymond Carver

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Warning
by Jenny Joseph

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Over the River and Through the Wood
by Lydia Child

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood—
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ding”,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood
Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood—
And straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood—
Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

 
 
 

I Can’t Remember
Anonymous

Just a line to say I’m living
that I’m not among the dead,
Though I’m getting more forgetful
and mixed up in my head

I got used to my arthritis
to my dentures I’m resigned,
I can manage my bifocals
but God, I miss my mind

For sometimes I can’t remember
when I stand at the foot of the stairs,
If I must go up for something
or have I just come down from there?

And before the fridge so often
my poor mind is filled with doubt,
Have I just put food away, or
have I come to take some out?

And there’s a time when it is dark
with my nightcap on my head,
I don’t know if I’m retiring, or
just getting out of bed

So, if it’s my turn to write to you
there’s no need for getting sore,
I may think I have written
and don’t want to be a bore

So, remember that I love you
and wish that you were near,
But now it’s nearly mail time
So I must say goodbye, dear

There I stand beside the mail box
with a face so very red,
Instead of mailing you my letter
I opened it instead

 
 
 

A Thirst For Simple Light
by Mark Nepo

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The Self-Slaved
by Patrick Kavanaugh

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When I’m 64
by The Beatles

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The Opening of Eyes
by David Whyte

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You Are Old, Father William
by Lewis Carroll

You are old, Father William, the young man said,
And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head –
Do you think, at your age, it is right?

In my youth, Father William replied to his son,
I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.

You are old, said the youth, As I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door –
Pray, what is the reason of that?

In my youth, said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment — one shilling the box –
Allow me to sell you a couple?

You are old, said the youth, And your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak
Pray, how did you manage to do it?

In my youth, said his father, I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.

You are old, said the youth, one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose –
What made you so awfully clever?

I have answered three questions, and that is enough,
Said his father, don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs!

 
 
 

I Know The Way You Can Get*
by Hafez
(translation by Daniel Ladinsky)

I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of Loving:

Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
And nose.

Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.

Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
The innocent
And into one’s self.

O I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:

You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.

You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.

You might pull out a ruler to measure

From every angle in your darkness
The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once
Trusted.

I know how you can get
If you have not had a drink from Love’s
Hands.

That is why all the Great Ones speak of
The vital need
To keep remembering God,
So you will come to know and see Him
As being so Playful
And Wanting,
Just Wanting to help.

That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near me.

For I am a Sweet Old Vagabond
With an Infinite Leaking Barrel
Of Light and Laughter and Truth
That the Beloved has tied to my back.

Dear one,
Indeed, please bring your heart near me.
For all I care about
Is quenching your thirst for freedom!

All a Sane man can ever care about
Is giving Love!

 

* From the Penguin publication I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy. Copyright © 1996 & 2006 Daniel Ladinsky and used with his permission.

 
 
 

Poetry Arrived
by Pablo Neruda
(translation)

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Authorship
by James Naylor

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