From “Stations”

 

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We have been here before
and failed, bringing creation
about our ears. Why
can we not be taught 
there is no hill beyond this one
we roll our minds to the top
of, not to take off into
empty space, nor to be cast back down
where we began, but to hold the position
assigned to us, long as time
lasts, somewhere half-way
up between earth and heaven.

R.S. Thomas

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From “Church Going”

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A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognized, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.

-Philip Larkin

On reading

A Nigerien woman demonstrates that she can read and write by writing her name in the sand in Adouna, Niger, Aug. 2010.

He ate and drank the precious words,

His spirit grew robust;

He knew no more that he was poor,

Nor that his frame was dust.

He danced along the dingy days,

And this bequest of wings

Was but a book — What liberty

A loosened spirit brings —

-Emily Dickinson