Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Dancing, in mind at least, toward a stage of untested embrace ”

Virginal spirits grasped in the shared, unexpected spectacle

Of one season’s end, and another’s hesitant birth.

The familiar overture of early winter, glimpsed for a moment

By eyes that found delight in a scene of colliding awe,

Of wonder wrapped at the heart of such commonness.

A place and time of grace, if in its ordinary face;

Should we await another? A radiant scene,

Freighted with patient miracles; obscured

Only for those without eyes to see:

A stubborn season’s embrace of its own natured demise.

Shadows pressing ahead of hastening night,

Bearers of brittle silences, descending

With neither courtesy nor contempt upon grasses and fields

Below, announcing the end of this reluctant vision.

Yet greet it we must with comprehending defiance,

Without the residue of resentment toward what must and will be.

Birth, on winter’s other side, must yield to ordinary death

Before rising into dancing convergence,

When again the last will be first, and the silenced speak.