Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Walden

Why Walden
by Gideon Burton
an imitation of a famous passage by Henry David Thoreau

To be deliberately alive; that's why
I went, confronting the essential facts.
I did not wish to find out when I died
that I had wasted time on lesser acts.
To suck out all the marrow from each day,
to sacrifice the petty and mundane;
to chase from vivid prisms middling grays;
to range the heights and depths, the joys and pain--
I had to melt away the dross and foam
and drive the price of living to the true
accounting never found except alone,
prepared for silence and a world to view.
     By walking through the wilderness and sky,
     sublimely quiet, rarely asking why.

Photo: flickr - hz536n

from Thoreau's Walden:
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

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