Entry: POVERTY OF SPIRIT Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I often talk about the poverty of hokku because poverty  of spirit is essential to it.  Thoreau understood the importance of poverty.  In Walden he writes:

Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage.  Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends.  Turn the old; return to them.  Things do not change; we change.  Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts....

We are often reminded that if there were bestowed on us the wealth of Croesus, our aims must still be the same, and our means essentially the same.  Moreover, if you are restricted in your range by poverty, if you cannot buy books and newspapers, for instance, you are but confined to the most significant and vital experiences; you are compelled to deal with the material which yields the most sugar and the most starch.  It is life near the bone where it is the sweetest.  You are defended from being a trifler.  No man loses ever on a lower level by magnanimity on a higher.  Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only.  Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.




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