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Showing posts from August, 2018

The Art of Memory

  The Art of Memory When we can traverse the plains of memory, stopping at each fire to warm ourselves before we start again on our journey, there is a world inside a world that keeps going on to infinity.  If we are lucky enough to hear the eternal melody that is at work in these moments, many fine hours may come upon us.   But sometimes the solace and hospitality are too much and we live with our new found companions, taking them along wherever we go, as a shadow upon our eyes.  The memories of Thoreau, or the early frontier narratives of Indian captivity, are something that I have felt eternal and unchangeable in human nature, not for any piece of information they have given me, but because my melancholy has always found peace in their environment.  For some the world is old or the world is new, but the point is that we tend to look at it through memory.  One memorable event confounds all future celebrations; we remember so as not to forget, but we do not remember that we are able t

A Poet's Journal: September 23rd, 2013

September 23th, 2013 A flock of geese passed on the 20th--only the second to date, the other being sandhill cranes.  The 22nd marked the equinox and the moon rose with such grandeur that I was able to follow the contours of a crater with my binoculars until it was enveloped in the earth's shadow.  It makes us wonder what things we would see if we could only look hard enough; or rather, if we could focus our mind on one thought with such illuminating perception, what would our view from the earth look like and where the paths of migration lead? Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: September 18th, 2013

September 18th, 2013 The prospect that lies before us is one of invariable gaiety and I say this not because the light lays long upon the hills or the colour of the horizon changes into some inebriating spectacle, but because, at this time, those solitary and lonely birds that fly so far from our view we cannot give them a name, those whom no eye captures, but hears, now make themselves known in the flocks that appear from the window.  How must the heart swell in perseverance and fortitude when neither anticipation nor worry keep him close to the tops of the trees, but only a long and very ancient chant to urge his mind to some far-off dwelling!  Now on the fence-line singing of an evening tale, he swirls in the air to those who are the beginning and the end of his sentiments, and amidst the change and steady hold of our surroundings, flies across the distant sky to his existence. Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: September 15th, 2013

September 15th, 2013 I missed a chance to go berry-picking last week, yet determination is ever eager for the future, and by next week's sunrise, I believe my hopes will have found a habitation for their movements.  It is almost too pleasing to know why I haven't gone, for being so disappointed in my last outing, I prefer the harvest of former years, and tell myself my gatherings have never been the same since nor will be, and so my perfect contentment to see the berries grow and die in the most inharmonious way.  Yet this has not left me in the least way paralyzed, for I have moved on to mushrooms, finding a few bolets and girolles, and instead of feeling the growth of a season fading away, have turned inward, to the distant pages of quiet thoughts, and speak to myself in a manner that is only pleasing to the barren field or solitary listener.  And yet, were these to offer any sort of reward, they in themselves would lose their flavor, and the cycle of life be but a mis-