Harrowing Grace

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As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away—
Too imperceptible at last
To seem like Perfidy—
A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun,
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon—
The Dusk drew earlier in—
The Morning foreign shone—
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that would be gone—
And thus, without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful.
~Emily Dickinson

 

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Quieter Beneath the Quiet

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Our shadows bring them from the shadows:
a yolk-yellow one with a navy pattern
like a Japanese woodblock print of fish scales.
A fat 18-karat one splashed with gaudy purple
and a patch of gray. One with a gold head,
a body skim-milk-white, trailing ventral fins
like half-folded fans of lace.
A poppy-red, faintly disheveled one,
and one, compact, all indigo in faint green water.
They wear comical whiskers and gather beneath us
as we lean on the cement railing
in indecisive late-December light,
and because we do not feed them, they pass,
then they loop and circle back. Loop and circle. Loop.
“Look,” you say, “beneath them.” Beneath them,
like a subplot or a motive, is a school
of uniformly dark ones, smaller, unadorned,
perhaps another species, living in the shadow
of the gold, purple, yellow, indigo, and white,
seeking the mired roots and dusky grasses,
unliveried, the quieter beneath the quiet.
~Susan Kolodny “Koi Pond, Oakland Museum”
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Quiet Eyes

photo by Josh Scholten

I will be the gladdest thing
     Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
     And not pick one.

photo by Josh Scholten

I will look at cliffs and clouds
     With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
     And the grass rise.

photo by Josh Scholten

And when lights begin to show
     Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
     And then start down!

-Afternoon on a Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

photo by Josh Scholten
Thanks to Mr. Ryan Smit and the Concert Choir who introduced an appreciative audience to this poem set to music by Eric Barnum during last night’s Lynden Christian High School music concert