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Some of my favorite bits of wisdom/'views on life'
- in no particular order -

The beginning of wisdom is to get you a roof.
West African Proverb
Date Unknown

Academia here I come!

 

There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by.
A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough.
The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more.
The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.

Annie Dillard - The Writing Life
1989

Plausible

 

Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people
Is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves
to be king of the universe.
The truth often sounds paradoxical
Lao Tzu
600 BC

 

 

The Old Poets of China

Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe
that I do not want it. Now I understand
why the old poets of China went so far and high
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.

Mary Oliver
2004


 

What Was Once the Largest Shopping Center in
Northern Ohio Was Built Where There Had Been
a Pond I Used to Visit Every Summer Afternoon

Loving the earth, seeing what has been done to it,
I grow sharp, I grow cold.

Where will the trilliums go, and the coltsfoot?
Where will the pond lilies go to continue living
their simple, penniless lives, lifting
their faces of gold?

Impossible to believe we need so much
as the world wants us to buy.
I have more clothes, lamps, dishes, paper clips
than I could possibly use before I die.

Oh, I would like to live in an empty house,
with vines for walls, and a carpet of grass.
No planks, no plastic, no fiberglass.

And I suppose I will.
Old and cold I will lie apart
from all this buying and selling, with only
the beautiful earth in my heart.

Mary Oliver
2004

Persistence

The Pinewoods

Just before dawn
three deer
came walking
down the hill

as if the moment were nothing different
from eternity -
as lightly as that
they nibbled

the leaves,
they drank
from the pond,
their pretty mouths

sucking the loose silver,
their heavy eyes
shining.
Listen,

I did not really see them,
I came later, and saw their tracks
on the empty sand.
But I don't believe

only to the edge
of what my eyes actually see
in the kindness of the morning,
do you?
Mary Oliver
2004


Butterflies in zoos

 

Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not! I fear lest it
droop into the dust.

It may not find a place in thy garland, but honour it with a
touch of pain from thy hand and pluck it. I fear lest the day
end before I am aware, and the time of offering go by.

Though its colour be not deep and its smell be faint, use
this flower in thy service and pluck iot while there is time.

Tagore 1913

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
 Send me an email
: dmarlow_AT_uscupstate_DOT_edu