March 04, 1991|By Robin Stratton

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads

-- Henry David Thoreau

I don't think Henry wore a hat at Walden.

It seems his head was bared to every wind,

to sun and soil water bird and beast, even


to the woodchuck (though its undisciplined

consumption of his beanfield bothered him

at times). The laws of Concord didn't bind


him to a blind allegiance, nor was it whim

that led him to obey a different principle

than "thou shalt not." To skim


across the surface like a water-bug or lull

oneself to sleep with pious platitudes was

not to live at all. Living is the miracle


of choice pursued by few amid the buzz

and gossip of the nameless thoughtless crowd.

Here was a self-appointed prophet of the cause


of humankind: wild-man solitary saint who vowed

an endless exploration in the world of self and

stars. Though townsfolk scoffed, a cloud


of witnesses applaused silently at Walden Pond

where eyes ears heart emotion will and hands

caressed the world he'd come thus far to tend.

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