Tag Archives: poetry

A heaven of blue glass (Walden 205)

2013-11 030sShall we with pains
erect a heaven of blue glass
over ourselves,
though when it is done
we shall be sure to gaze still
at the true ethereal heaven far above,
as if the former were not?

— Henry David Thoreau, from “Conclusion,” Walden

Hawk in flight (Walden 195)

It was not lonely, but made all the earth lonely beneath it.

Nighthawk. Wikimedia Commons

Nighthawk. Wikimedia Commons

I observed a very slight and graceful hawk, like a nighthawk,
alternately soaring like a ripple and
a rod or two
over and over,
showing the under side of its wings,
which gleamed like a satin ribbon in the sun,
or like the pearly inside of a shell… Continue reading

The first sparrow of spring! (Walden 193)

The first sparrow of spring!

The year beginning with younger hope than ever!

The faint silvery warblings
heard over the partially bare and moist fields from
the bluebird, the song sparrow, and the red-wing,
as if the last flakes of winter tinkled as they fell!

What at such a time are histories, chronologies, traditions,
and all written revelations?

…The grass flames up on the hillsides like a spring fire…
as if the earth sent forth an inward heat to greet the returning sun;
not yellow but green is the color of its flame…

— Henry David Thoreau, from “Spring,” Walden Continue reading

Thaw (Walden 190)


with his gentle persuasion

is more powerful than

Thor with his hammer.

The one melts,

The other but breaks in pieces.

— Henry David Thoreau, from “Spring,” Walden

(About  “A Year in Walden”)

The Ice-Cutter (Walden 185)

Hauling ice to storage, Toronto, 1890s. Wikimedia Commons

Hauling ice to storage, Toronto, 1890s. Wikimedia Commons

He cuts and saws
the solid pond,
unroofs the house of fishes,
and carts off their very
element and air,
held fast by chains and stakes
like corded wood,
through the favoring winter air,
to wintry cellars,
to underlie the summer there.

— Henry David Thoreau, from “The Pond in Winter,” Walden

(About  “A Year in Walden”)

Take shelter under the cloud (Walden 147)

Rise free from care before the dawn,
and seek adventures.

Let the noon find thee by other lakes,
and the night overtake thee
everywhere at home.

There are no larger fields than these,
no worthier games
than may here be played.

Grow wild according to thy nature,
like these sedges and brakes,
which will never become English hay.

Let the thunder rumble; what if
it threaten ruin to farmers’ crops?
That is not its errand to thee.

Take shelter under the cloud, while they flee
to carts and sheds.

Let not to get a living be thy trade,
but thy sport.

Enjoy the land, but own it not.

Through want of enterprise
and faith men are where they are,
buying and selling, and spending
their lives like serfs.

— Henry David Thoreau, from “Baker Farm,” Walden2013-11 033s

(About  “A Year in Walden”)

Circles (Walden 135)

Not a fish can leap
or an insect fall
on the pond but it is
thus reported
in circling dimples,
in lines of beauty,
as it were the constant
welling up of its fountain,
the gentle pulsing of its life,
the heaving of its breast.

— Henry David Thoreau, from “The Ponds,” Walden

(About  “A Year in Walden”)

Nighthawk (Walden 112)

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

The nighthawk circled
overhead in the sunny afternoons…
like a mote in the eye,
or in heaven’s eye, falling
from time to time with a
swoop and a sound
as if the heavens were rent,
torn at last to very rags and tatters,
and yet a seamless cope remained;

small imps that fill the air and
lay their eggs on the ground
on bare sand or rocks on the tops of hills,
where few have found them; Continue reading