Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
been spoken
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence

W.S. Merwin (1927-)

Magic Words

In the very earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody could explain this:
That's the way it was.

Eskimo/Inuit (anonymous)

The Need to Win

When an archer is shooting for nothing
He has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle
He is already nervous.
If shoots for a prize of gold
He goes blind
Or sees two targets--
He is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed. But the prize
Divides him. He cares.
He thinks more of winning
Than of shooting--
And the need to win
Drains him of power.

Chuang Tzu (300 - 400 B.C.)