I’ve met a poet who seriously believes
in thanking Autumn for its yellow leaves,
expressing gratitude in Ritual
and Prayer. His mindful mind is full,
but of what? Stood on calm Loch Lomond’s bank
doing his usual, this time to thank
the Loch for being there, he said he saw
a pulse of wind-whipped ripples just off-shore
making straight for him. I said,
“Coincidence!” The poet shook his head.
“No, dialogue.” But his implies that he
and nature are best mates—which cannot be.
We want nature to care. Why should it care?
or lakes reply when we recite some prayer?
A Dostoyevsky tale on which to brood,
tells of a man who died of gratitude.
It’s published in translation by Gollancz.
Well, is it for itself or just for thanks
that we perform our little kindly acts?
What’s animism, set beside the facts?
Admire the vast sweep of that heaving sea,
it doesn’t give a damn for you or me;
and in the forest, stream and moss and fern—
if they give, they want nothing in return
except, of course, for us to let them be.