Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long. ~William Shakespeare — Sonnet 73
May I remember
with each passing season,
as my outer self fades and fails,
wrinkles and withersI am consumed wholly
by glowing embers of love
received and thereby shared;
no warmth compares
to such a grace freely given.
Some ask for the world and are diminished in the receiving of it. You gave me only this small pool that the more I drink from, the more overflows me with sourceless light. ~R.S. Thomas “Gift”
A silence slipping around like death, Yet chased by a whisper, a sigh, a breath, One group of trees, lean, naked and cold, Inking their crest ‘gainst a sky green-gold, One path that knows where the corn flowers were; Lonely, apart, unyielding, one fir; And over it softly leaning down, One star that I loved ere the fields went brown.
~Angelina Weld Grimke “A Winter Twilight”
I am astonished at my thirstiness
slaked by such simple things
as a moment of pink,
a burst of birdsong,
the softness of fluff about to let go,
a glimpse of tomorrow over the horizon of today.
Do you know why this world is as bad as it is? It is because people think only about their own business, and won’t trouble themselves to stand up for the oppressed, nor bring the wrong-doers to light. My doctrine is this: that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing,
we make ourselves sharers in the guilt. ~Anna Sewell from Black Beauty
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.
In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged.
And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air
– however slight –
lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
~William O. Douglas
We must recognize that we as individuals are to blame
for every social injustice,
the downgrading of others
and the injury that man does to man,
whether personal or on a broader plane.…
God must intervene with his spirit and his justice and his truth.
The present misery, need, and decay must pass away
and the new day of the Son of Man must dawn.
This is the advent of God’s coming.
~Dwight Blough from the introduction to When the Time was Fulfilled (1965)
Be careful whom you choose to hate. The small and the vulnerable own a protection great enough,
if you could but see it,
to melt you into jelly. ~Leif Enger from Peace Like a River
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question
the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.
On the one hand, we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside;
but that will be only an initial act.
One day the whole Jericho road must be transformed
so that men and women will not be beaten and robbed
as they make their journey through life.
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar;
it understands that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world,
can well lead the way in this revolution of values.
There is nothing, except a tragic death wish,
to prevent us from reordering our priorities… ~Martin Luther King, Jr. from a speech April 4, 1967
As we walk this life, this Jericho Road together,
we cannot pass by the brother, the sister, the child
who lies dying in the ditch.
We must stop and help.
By mere circumstances of our place of birth,
it could be you or me there bleeding, beaten, abandoned
until Someone, journeying along that road,
comes looking for us,
sent to take our place,
so we can get up, made whole again,
and walk Home.
A silence slipping around like death, Yet chased by a whisper, a sigh, a breath;
One group of trees, lean, naked and cold, Inking their cress ‘gainst a sky green-gold;
One path that knows where the corn flowers were; Lonely, apart, unyielding, one fir; And over it softly leaning down, One star that I loved ere the fields went brown ~Angelina Weld Grimke “A Winter Twilight”
Our farm’s lone fir is a focal point of the neighborhood,
standing grand on the highest hill for several miles around.
Raptors use this tree for views of the surrounding fields.
The horses love the shade on hot summer days.
It is backdrop for glorious sunsets and waning moons.
Yet in winter I find myself admiring it most —
Its steadfast presence, so stoic and unyielding
though buffeted by cold wind and icy storms.
Decades of seasons flow past the lone fir, “silence slipping around like death, yet chased by a whisper, a sigh, a breath.”
We turned into the drive, and gravel flew up from the tires like sparks from a fire. So much to be done—the unpacking, the mail and papers … the grass needed mowing …. We climbed stiffly out of the car. The shut-off engine ticked as it cooled.
And then we noticed the pear tree, the limbs so heavy with fruit they nearly touched the ground. We went out to the meadow; our steps made black holes in the grass; and we each took a pear, and ate, and were grateful. ~Jane Kenyon “Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer”
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