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.
—Mark S. Burrows