Inspirational Poems posted by Yerba Buena Nursery
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TO PAINT THE PORTRAIT OF A BIRD|
"Pour faire le portrait d'un oiseau"
by Jacques Prevert
Thanks to Dave Fross of Native Sons Nursery from whom we first heard this poem.
THE SUMMER DAY
To paint the portrait of a bird,|
Paint first a cage with an open door.
Then paint inside the cage
something useful to the bird.
Place the canvas against a tree
In a garden or a forest
And hide behind the tree
Without speaking or moving.
Maybe the bird will arrive quickly
But it could take years.
Don't be discouraged. Wait.
Wait all the years if need be:
the bird's quickness or slowness
will not affect the success of the painting.
When the bird arrives
(if it does),
be completely silent and wait
until it enters the cage-
then softly close the door
with the paintbrush.
Erase one by one the bars|
And, being careful not to touch
The bird's feathers,
Paint the tree, choosing
The best of its branches
For the bird to perch on.
Paint also the foliage
And the cool breeze
And the rays of the sun;
Paint the sounds of the animals,
The plants, the summer warmth.
Then wait until the bird decides
To sing or not to sing:
If not, it is a bad sign
And a sign the portrait is bad,
But singing is a good sign-
A sign that you can sign.
Very softly, pluck a feather
From the bird and write your name
In a corner of the canvas.
By Mary Oliver
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
Who made the world?|
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
The one who has flung herself out of the grass,
The one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
Who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
Who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
Into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
How to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
Which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
by Robert Frost
THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,|
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
by William Butler Yeats
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,|
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear the water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
With thanks to Matt Burrows, who brought us both
this poem and the beautiful photo to accompany it.
Clarkia Meadow at Yerba Buena Nursery.
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