~Percy Bysshe Shelley
our spring long spent
and now we come upon
a time of subtle beauty,
of hue and harmony,
a solemn serenity
by the clamor of summer.
a curtain of grace
cloaking and comforting,
readying us for winter.
No more walks in the wood;
This is the aftermath
Of afternoons in the clover
Fields where we once made love
Then wandered home together
Where the trees arched above,
Where we made our own weather
When branches were the sky.
Now they are gone for good,
And you, for ill, and I
Am only a passer-by.
We and the trees and the way
Back from the fields of play
Lasted as long as we could.
No more walks in the wood.
~John Hollander “An Old Fashioned Song”
Some crumple in air, fall. Some stagger, recover control,
Then take the last glide for a far glint of water. None
Knows what has happened. Now, today, watching
How tirelessly V upon V arrows the season’s logic,
Do I know my own story? At least, they know
When the hour comes for the great wing-beat. Sky-strider,
Star-strider–they rise, and the imperial utterance,
Which cries out for distance, quivers in the wheeling sky.
That much they know, and in their nature know
The path of pathlessness, with all the joy
Of destiny fulfilling its own name.
I have know time and distance, but not why I am here.
Path of logic, path of folly, all
The same–and I stand, my face lifted now skyward,
Hearing the high beat, my arms outstretched in the tingling
Process of transformation, and soon tough legs,
With folded feet, trail in the sounding vacuum of passage,
And my heart is impacted with a fierce impulse
To unwordable utterance–
Toward sunset, at a great height.
~Robert Penn Warren “Heart of Autumn”
I wish I could be as sure as the geese overhead
who trust where they are led
is where they belong.
They may not make it there
but nevertheless go.
I wish I might fly into the setting sun
on a path of pathlessness
knowing only that I am sent
because the call is stronger
than I am.
Yea, I have looked, and seen November there;
The changeless seal of change it seemed to be,
Fair death of things that, living once, were fair;
Bright sign of loneliness too great for me,
Strange image of the dread eternity,
In whose void patience how can these have part,
These outstretched feverish hands, this restless heart?
~William Morris, “November”
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me…
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days…
~Robert Frost from “My November Guest”
month of darkening,
to a recounting of gratitude
of daily thanksgiving and blessings~~
it is good to dwell on our gifts,
I invite Sorrow
to sit in silence with me,
her tears blending with mine.
These deepening days
of bare stripped branches
feed my growing need
for the covering grace
of His coming light.
My poems start the way an oyster does, with an aggravation…
~Kay Ryan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 2010
If I can remember how often
inspiration starts with irritation~
a bit of sandy grit that hurts and aggravates
becomes something beautiful
if I surround it,
build on it,
smooth it to a shine
and lose myself inside.
A dozen times a day
I can choose to be angry
or be grateful
for nagging aggravations that
lead me beyond mere comfort seeking,
to transcend the mundane
and by grace,
touch the heavenly.
Yesterday a calm and steady rain
made more sodden a sullen gray dawn
when unbidden, a sudden gust
ripped loose remaining leaves
and sent them spinning,
in yellow clouds.
The battering of rain and wind
left no doubt
summer is done for good –
the past is past.
I hunker through the turbulenceto await a clear night when once again
heaven empties itself into
a fragile crystalline dawn.