Two poems to remind us of the ineluctable passing of time, and what we should do to make the most of our lives.
Time’s Low Note (Excerpts)
When the giant moon
rises over the river,
the cat stretches,
presses himself to the window,
He needs to go outside
into dark grass
to feel the mystery
combing his fur.
The wind never says
Call me back,
I’ll be waiting for your call.
All we know about wind’s address is
This poem is by Naomi Shihab Nye (born 1952), an American poet, songwriter, and novelist of Palestinian descent. Shihab Nye began composing her first poem at the age of six and has published or contributed to over 30 volumes to date. She is known for poetry that lends a fresh perspective to ordinary events, people, and objects across cultures and is the recipient of many awards including several Pushcart Prizes and a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation. From 2010 to 2015 she served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
This next poem is by me. I call it “Autumn Song”
And so the brashness of summer
has come and gone.
I carry its memories
and some of its vivaciousness with me
into the autumn of my life,
thinking what I should do from now,
for this “one wild and precious life”
Mary Oliver spoke so eloquently of.
Everything goes back to the earth
So I do not care for excess of money or power.
I will empty my cargo of worries
like the trees emptying themselves
and love myself more
in a way I never have loved.
A little bird flutters all day, singing
“I want to be a thoughtful bird
when I grow up”.
Let me be that bird.
Let me dwell in a palace of thought,
waking up readily each morning
where others labor,
to wait for all possible tellings,
like a window through which
the beauty of light shines in.
Give me books, give me poetry,
Give me science, give me art.
Give me the internet of thoughts
and every blooming thing
between earth and sky.
Give me the devotion of attention
to never stop asking
questions that may have no answers,
and the modesty to accept
the questions in lieu of the answers,
to be fully grateful
in what is and always was
the stunning wholeness of the world.