Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Best Thistle

This is my thistle of the summer. I have had special thistles here before; here's a link to some of them! I was a little surprised to find out how many! This one has been growing for weeks at the base of my David Austen rose. I like the shape of it and had many other weeds to pull, so I let it be. But I couldn't have it making a lot of seeds there, right by the sidewalk, so tonight I took its picture and then I pulled it. I could feel the spines come through a heavy leather glove, so I moved my hand up a little, smoothing the spines, as you would the hair of a stiff-haired dog. The plant was pretty shallow-rooted and came right up! I do admire its stiffly regular beauty and am a little sorry that it chose there to grow.

Oh Earth, Wait For Me

Return me, oh sun,
to my wild destiny,
rain of the ancient wood,
bring me back the aroma and the swords
that fall from the sky,
the solitary piece of pasture and rock
the damp at the river-margins,
the smell of the larch tree,
the wind alive like a heart
beating in the crowded restlessness
of the towering auracaria.

Earth, give me back your pure gifts,
the towers of silence which rose
from the solemnity of their roots,
I want to go back to being what I have not been, 
and learn to go back from such deeps
that amongst all natural things 
I could live or not live; it does not matter
to be one stone more, the dark stone,
the pure stone which the river bears away. 

from Pablo Neruda; selected poems,a bilingual edition, edited by Nathaniel Tarn, HM, 1990, page 473, translated by Alistair Reid.

Oh, how I love the oracular Pablo! I am thinking it would be fun to try each line as the first line of a new poem. If one did this, it would be enough for a chapbook. Let's call that the Pasture and Rock sequence.

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