How the earth now
struggles into spring.

How the cold hangs on,
each morning cracking to begin.

And in the evenings—to eat now
with no salt, no pepper or seasoning,

to give up any kind of leaven,
to drink only water, uncooled.

How we turn off the television.
How we teach our children best

by our practice.
How we grow thin with desire

for letting go. How nothing much
is as important as we thought.

How the less we speak,
the more valuable words become.

Nicholas Samaras’s first book, Hands of the Saddlemaker, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.

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