something utterly heartbroken

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I Am Trying to Get at Something Utterly Heartbroken
Annie Dillard
I

At the end of the road is a small cottage,
And over all the blue sky.
I am trying to get at something utterly heart-broken.

The flying birds, the smoking chimneys,
And that figure loitering below in the yard–
If we do not learn from this, then from what shall we learn?

The miners go home in the white snow at twilight
These people are quite black. Their houses are small.
The time for making dark studies is short.

A patch of brown heath through which a white
Path leads, and sky just delicately tinged,
Yet somewhat passionately brushed.
We who try our best to live, why do we not live more?

II

The branches of poplars and willows rigid like wire.
It may be true that there is no God here,
But there must be one not far off.

A studio with a cradle, a baby’s high chair.
Those colors which have no name
Are the real foundation of everything.

What I want is more beautiful huts far away on the heath.
If we are tired, isn’t it then because
We have already walked a long way?

The cart with the white horse brings
a wounded man home from the mines.
Bistre and bitumen, well applied,
Make the colouring ripe and mellow and generous.

III

A ploughed field with clods of violet earth;
Over all a yellow sky with a yellow sun.
So there is every moment something that moves one intensely.

A bluish-grey line of trees with a few roofs.
I simply could not restrain myself or keep
My hands off it or allow myself to rest.

A mother with her child, in the shadow
Of a large tree against the dune.
To say how many green-greys there are is impossible.

I love so much, so very much, the effect
Of yellow leaves against green trunks.
This is not a thing that I have sought,
But has come across my path and I have seized it.

Photo by Michal Ico on Unsplash

dash it

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Dash It
Annie Dillard
How wonderfully it was all arranged that each
Of us had not too long to live. This is one
Of the main snags—the shortness of the day.
The whole wood was whispering, “Dash it, dash it….”

What joy—to walk along that path! The snow
Was so fragrant in the sun! What a fish!
Whenever I think of death, the same stupid
Question arises: “What’s to be done?”

As for myself, I can only speak of what
Made me marvel when I saw it for the first time.
I remember my own youth when I was in love.
I remember a puddle rippling, the insects aroused.

I remember our own springtime when my lady told me:
You have taken my best. And then I remember
How many evenings I have waited, how much
I have been through for this one evening on earth.