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POETRY THOUGHTS ON A MOUNTAIN SHRINE In this picture, two Chinese sages lift their empty cups to a third who pours their tea. They will pose like this almost forever, almost content as snow begins to fill the pines. How quietly the truth can sometimes come to us, how best it seems to come when we are most alone with ourselves. SUMMER SESSION Think of it this way, children: the world given only once is beautiful. Recess, the children flee, playing at war, meaning it. She winds her shawl tighter. And weeps softly for all the ugly worlds still to be born and no one ever to love them. Leonard Nathan LEONARD NATHAN’S eleventh book of verse, Tears of the Old Magician, was published this year; his tenth, The Potato Eaters, was published in 1998. His most recent prose work is Diary of a Left -Handed Bird Watcher. He has published in many journals including The New Yorker, Shenandoah, New England Review, and Manoa. He is currently working on a new volume of verse. Naomi Shihab Nye 12/5/03 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21