You Are the Ocean

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Walt Whitman, ‘To You’.

Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me.
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work,
farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking,
suffering, dying.

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear.
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.

O I have been dilatory and dumb,
I should have made my way straight to you long ago,
I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing
but you.

I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you,
None has understood you, but I understand you,
None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to yourself,
None but has found you imperfect, I only find no imperfection in you,
None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will never consent
to subordinate you,
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God,
beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.

theparisreview:

“From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality. That is why you write and for no other reason that you know of. But what about all the reasons that no one knows?”
—Happy Birthday, Ernest Hemingway.
Photo Credit John Bryson/Getty Images

theparisreview:

“From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality. That is why you write and for no other reason that you know of. But what about all the reasons that no one knows?”

—Happy Birthday, Ernest Hemingway.

Photo Credit John Bryson/Getty Images

Al Purdy, ‘The Nurselog’

(*When a fallen log in the BC rain forest begins to decay, its trunk becomes a nursery for hundreds of tiny seedlings.)

The Nurselog*

These are my children
these are my grandchildren
they have green hair
their bones grow from my bones
when rain comes they drink the sky
I am their mother and grandmother
I am their past
their memory is my thousand years
of growing and waiting for them

Four hundred rings past
in my body count
there was fire
it touched me and I glowed
with blue fire from the sky
the sky was so close
it hissed and shimmered in me
then rain fell
Three hundred and fifty rings
past there was no rain
for many growing times
but when it came I heard
the forest talking together
how great a time ago
is lost but I remember 
long-necked animals eating me
one great-jawed creature eating them
everything consumed everything else
and wondered if living was eating
Then the birds came
but strange birds like reptiles
with broad leathery wings
flapping and crashing through me
they changed to specks of blue
and orange and green and yellow
little suns sleeping in me

I remember this in a dream
when we all dreamed
as if I were an old repeated story
once told to me that I retell
And now the little green ones
nesting cleverly in a row
some love the shade and some the sun
another is growing crookedly
but she will straighten given time
one grows more slowly than the others
and has my own special affection
They are so different these small ones
their green hair shines
they lift their bodies high in light
they droop in rain and move in unison
toward some lost remembered place
we came from like a question
like a question and the answer
nobody remembers now
no one can remember…

~Al Purdy

Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person’s face as you pass them on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street, and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing.

Miranda July