Hymn to Iris by Alice Oswald

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Quick moving goddess of the rainbow
You whose being is only an afterglow of a passing-through

Put your hands
Put your heaven-taken shape down
On the ground. Now. Anywhere

Like a bent- down bough of nothing
A bridge built out of the linked cells of thin air

And let there be instantly in its underlight –
At street corners, on swings, out of car windows –
A three-moment blessing for all bridges

May impossible rifts be often delicately crossed
By bridges of two thrown ropes or one dropped plank

May the unfixed forms of water be warily leaned over
On flexible high bridges, huge iron sketches of the mathematics of strain
And bridges of see-through stone, the living-space of drips and echoes

May two fields be bridged by a stile
And two hearts by the tilting footbridge of a glance

And may I often wake on the broken bridge of a word,
Like in the wind the trace of a web. Tethered to nothing

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Meditation at Lagunitas by Robert Hass

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All the new thinking is about loss.

In this it resembles all the old thinking.

The idea, for example, that each particular erases

the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-

faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk

of that black birch is, by his presence,

some tragic falling off from a first world

of undivided light. Or the other notion that,

because there is in this world no one thing

to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,

a word is elegy to what it signifies.

We talked about it late last night and in the voice

of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone

almost querulous. After a while I understood that,

talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,

pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman

I made love to and I remembered how, holding

her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,

I felt a violent wonder at her presence

like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river

with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,

muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish

called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.

Longing, we say, because desire is full

of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.

But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,

the thing her father said that hurt her, what

she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous

as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.

Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,

saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.