American Poetry, Poetry

Jane Hirshfield’s Ode to Optimism and Resilience

"Poetry itself is an instrument of resilience," Jane Hirshfield wrote more than a decade ago when referring to her poem 'Optimism' for the Washington Post. Poetry, she continues, reflects "life's continuing embrace of its own implausible, risky existence." A residential Zen student of many years, Jane Hirshfield's work embodies a continuing sense of wonder and… Continue reading Jane Hirshfield’s Ode to Optimism and Resilience

Book Excerpts

The Lesson of a Tree – Walt Whitman

After Walt Whitman suffered a stroke at the age of 54, he spent his time immersed in nature as he slowly recovered his health. This passage from the collection of his notes and sketches called Specimen Days is a beautiful meditation on trees and their eloquence, endurance and imperturbability. 'It is, yet says nothing,' he… Continue reading The Lesson of a Tree – Walt Whitman

Book Excerpts

The Most Penetrating Preachers: Herman Hesse’s Ode to Trees

This wonderful fragment of Hermann Hesse's writing comes from a book that's actually out of print and one of the hardest of the author's books to come by - Wandering: Notes and Sketches. The book itself follows the author's contemplations through nature and the insights that transpired. Here he talks about his reverence for trees,… Continue reading The Most Penetrating Preachers: Herman Hesse’s Ode to Trees