Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf,

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day

Nothing gold can stay.

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The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

The Double Life, by Don Blanding

The Double Life

How very simple life would be
If only there were two of me
A restless me to drift and roam
A quiet me to stay at home.
A Searching One to find his fill
Of varied skies and new found thrill
While sane and homely things are done
By the domestic Other One.

And that’s just where the trouble lies;
There is a Restless Me that cries
For chancey risks and changing scene,
For arctic blue and tropic green,
For deserts with their mystic spell,
For lusty fun and raising Hell
But shackled to that Restless Me
My other self rebeliously
Resists the frantic urge to move.
It seeks the old familiar groove
That habits make. It finds content
With hearth and home-dear prisonment,
With candle light and well-loved books
And treasured loot in dusty nooks,
With puttering and garden things
And dreaming while a cricket sings
And all the while the Restless One
Insists on more exciting fun.
It wants to go with every tide,
No matter where….just for the ride.
Like yowling cats the two selves brawl
Until I have no peace at all.

One eye turns to the forward track,
The other eye looks sadly back.
I’m getting wall-eyed from the strain,
(It’s tough to have an idle brain)
But One says “Stay” and One says “Go”
And One says “Yes,” and One says “No,”
And One Self wants a home and wife
And One Self craves the drifter’s life.

The Restless Fellow always wins
I wish my folks had made me twins.

–Don Blanding

The people upstairs, by Ogden Nash

The people upstairs all practise ballet
Their living room is a bowling alley
Their bedroom is full of conducted tours.
Their radio is louder than yours,
They celebrate week-ends all the week.
When they take a shower, your ceilings leak.
They try to get their parties to mix
By supplying their guests with Pogo sticks,
And when their fun at last abates,
They go to the bathroom on roller skates.
I might love the people upstairs more
If only they lived on another floor.

A Lady who thinks she is thirty, by Ogden Nash

Unwillingly Miranda wakes,
Feels the sun with terror,
One unwilling step she takes,
Shuddering to the mirror.

Miranda in Miranda’s sight
Is old and gray and dirty;
Twenty-nine she was last night;
This morning she is thirty.

Shining like the morning star,
Like the twilight shining,
Haunted by a calendar,
Miranda is a-pining.

Silly girl, silver girl,
Draw the mirror toward you;
Time who makes the years to whirl
Adorned as he adored you.

Time is timelessness for you;
Calendars for the human;
What’s a year, or thirty, to
Loveliness made woman?

Oh, Night will not see thirty again,
Yet soft her wing, Miranda;
Pick up your glass and tell me, then–
How old is Spring, Miranda?

Corps et âmes, Sully Prudhomme

Heureuses les lèvres de chair !
Leurs baisers se peuvent répondre ;
Et les poitrines pleines d’air !
Leurs soupirs se peuvent confondre.

Heureux les coeurs, les coeurs de sang !
Leurs battements peuvent s’entendre ;
Et les bras ! Ils peuvent se tendre,
Se posséder en s’enlaçant.

Heureux aussi les doigts ! Ils touchent ;
Les yeux ! Ils voient. Heureux les corps !
Ils ont la paix quand ils se couchent,
Et le néant quand ils sont morts.

Mais, oh ! Bien à plaindre les âmes !
Elles ne se touchent jamais :
Elles ressemblent à des flammes
Ardentes sous un verre épais.

De leurs prisons mal transparentes
Ces flammes ont beau s’appeler,
Elles se sentent bien parentes,
Mais ne peuvent pas se mêler.

On dit qu’elles sont immortelles ;
Ah ! Mieux leur vaudrait vivre un jour,
Mais s’unir enfin ! … dussent-elles
S’éteindre en épuisant l’amour !

A vingt ans, Sully Prudhomme (1839-1907)

À vingt ans on a l’oeil difficile et très fier :
On ne regarde pas la première venue,
Mais la plus belle ! Et, plein d’une extase ingénue,
On prend pour de l’amour le désir né d’hier.

Plus tard, quand on a fait l’apprentissage amer,
Le prestige insolent des grands yeux diminue,
Et d’autres, d’une grâce autrefois méconnue,
Révèlent un trésor plus intime et plus cher.

Mais on ne fait jamais que changer d’infortune :
À l’âge où l’on croyait n’en pouvoir aimer qu’une,
C’est par elle déjà qu’on apprit à souffrir ;

Puis, quand on reconnaît que plus d’une est charmante,
On sent qu’il est trop tard pour choisir une amante
Et que le coeur n’a plus la force de s’ouvrir.

De la montagne, Thomas Tranströmer

Je suis sur la montagne et contemple la baie.
Les bateaux reposent à la surface de l’été.
« Nous sommes des somnambules. Des lunes à la dérive. »
Voilà ce que les voiles blanches me disent.

« Nous errons dans une maison assoupie.
Nous poussons doucement les portes.
Nous nous appuyons à la liberté. »
Voilà ce que les voiles blanches me disent.

J’ai vu un jour les volontés du monde s’en aller.
Elles suivaient le même cours ― une seule flotte.
« Nous sommes dispersées maintenant. Compagnes de personne. »
Voilà ce que les voiles blanches me disent.