Lightly child, lightly.

I saw none of that;
the only birds were tiny and caged,
beating their wings against the bars,
chattering like distant voices in dreams.
I’ve forgotten how I got there. I know
I knelt to a cold stream to wash my face
and wakened to music, an odd beat,
a melody I’d heard before. I followed
the sound over a rise to the open field
where the sun poured down its grace
on the long grass, the animals, the men
and women. The wind kept prodding
at my back as though determined
to push me away from where I was,
fearful, perhaps, I would come to rest.

~ Philip Levine, from In Another Country (The New Yorker, February 11, 2013)


  • Photo: via Your Eyes Blaze Out
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”


  1. Almost an ephemeral internal dialogue…may I rest or am I compelled to leave such peacefulness

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Captivated by the sense of disassociation conveyed here…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This reminds me of Rumi’s beautiful quote. “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there’s a field. I’ll meet you there.” 🍃🍀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Entralling and simply marvelous poem, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on WilliWash.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. quiet peace or the rhythm of life?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful writing always makes me wonder 💛


  8. What a beautiful dreamy piece

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Amazingly beautiful …. power of words!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Christie says:

    To me, Levine’s words portray a man on a journey…a man wanting to live, free….the birds tiny, trapped & frenzied, their chatter heard though not reaching a wide audience, their common plea, crying for release…he’d heard the cries of the oppressed over time with little relenting, where ever he traveled…he witnessed the conflict between those who desire a physical freedom but are confined…contrasted to those who are kissed by gold, blessed by privilege of ease of life and rest, a washed in a melody of content …he sees, he thirsts, he desires…he struggles knowing that that he and many others are tantalized with a glimpse from a far to the possibilities of what freedom holds…some retaining hope, while all along knowing that they’ll never be able to attain the release of body into the open…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The wind kept prodding at my back…as though determined to push me away from where I was.

    You cannot fathom the beauty of this for me just now. I shall print this and find a tiny frame.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. that photograph is utter perfection.
    I’m inspired to toss color to the winds, and go exploring in BW A wow, photo. The poem by Levine matches the photo in perfection, with its haunting yearning, for respite and peace and rest. lovely David 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. And lightly we go on…great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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