I wrote this poem in my journal on Sunday and discovered this morning that a former student died suddenly yesterday. I offer this here in honor of Rob and for all those who are grieving for a multitude of losses:
Let it Be Winter Still
Let it be winter a while longer,
Let darkness be my closest companion
cradling me in her inky velvet shawl.
Let the owl cry softly from his place
among the long aching branches,
under the bone-white face of the moon.
Let my heart break for the dead in Haiti,
buried under collapsed stone and wood
and the seeping river of death flowing underground.
Let me shed tears for widows and widowers
in Iraq and Afghanistan,
who must walk through each long day without the
warm calloused hand of their one true love.
Let me weep for the man dying less than a mile away,
alone as he reaches for that bright doorway.
Let me feel the gnawing sorrow of the woman
pressing her hungry children close against her body.
Let the winter stay a while longer.
Let her invitation to grief
carry me across the haunting threshold
to the places of my own great losses,
until I know this black frozen landscape as my own,
until the mournful songs of my ancestors vibrate in my blood,
wounded in wars, the grand kind, or the smaller battles of daily life.
Let the winter linger until I see each naked tree
as a talisman of my sorrow
and I long to be stripped down to my own essence,
reaching my arms up in supplication under a wide twilight sky.
Let it be winter until the moment the Hour of Spring
breaks through in laboring, gasping, heaving pains.
Until tiny miracles burst forth in an array of buds and blossoms
each one carrying a name: Love. Kindness. Compassion. Hope.
Each name earned only from the long barren journey of heartbreak.
Let it be winter still.
© Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts
** Stop by yesterday's post to find out more about 50% for Haiti –
with gratitude to several new students who already registered today **