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Meditation at Lagunitas

Meditation at Lagunitas

by Robert Hass

Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. (lines 19-23)

"General ideas" exist in the human mind, and "particulars" or specific things exist in nature. Although it can be fun to think about ideas, only particulars can make us feel a "violent wonder" at the existence of something. Here, the specific nature of the woman’s body makes the speaker remember a bunch of other specific things from his past. He connects with nature through his desire for her body.

Quote #5

Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry. (lines 30-31)

The word "blackberry" has such an intense sound that we might think that the speaker remembers a time of picking or eating real blackberries on "those afternoons and evenings." But, he’s not talking about the physical fruit here. For him, even repeating the word can be a "sweet" and "tender" experience. When we’re not in the presence of nature, we can experience some of the pleasant characteristics of nature through language. Like, say, reading a pastoral poem?

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