When sorrow lays us low
for a second we are saved
by humble windfalls
of the mindfulness or memory:
the taste of a fruit, the taste of water,
that face given back to us by a dream,
the first jasmine of November,
the endless yearning of the compass,
a book we thought was lost,
the throb of a hexameter,
the slight key that opens a house to us,
the smell of a library, or of sandalwood,
the former name of a street,
the colors of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date we were looking for,
the twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count,
a sudden physical pain.
Eight million Shinto deities
travel secretly throughout the earth.
Those modest gods touch us–
touch us and move on.
I seem to be attracted to poems about sorrow — I really am not a depressed person, I’m just drawn to poems that capture a feeling and for some reason this theme is dominating lately. I actually see this poem as uplifting. The 8 million Shinto deities that Borges refers to for me are the millions of small miracles that surround us everyday of our lives. It is sometimes hard for us to notice them especially when we fall into sorrow or tragedy but they are there. I love the way Borges personifies these miracles – they travel secretly, gently touch us, touch us and move on.
This week’s post is in honor of an old friend whose passing was too soon – I am lucky to have crossed your path even for a short time in our lives. I hope that many small miracles will touch those in sorrow who love and miss you.