Entering Winter


Poor muse, north wind, or any god   

who blusters bleak across the lake   

and sows the earth earth-deep with ice.   

A hoar of fur stung across the vines:   

here the leaves in full flush, here   

abandoned to four and farther winds.   

Bless us, any god who crabs the apples   

and seeds the leaf and needle evergreen.   

What whispered catastrophe, winter.   

What a long night, beyond the lamplight,   

the windows and the frost-ferned glass.   

Bless the traveler and the hearth he travels to.   

Bless our rough hands, wind-scabbed lips,   

bless this our miscreant psalm.

– Dave Lucas, “Lines for Winter”


fluent nature

Long shadows

To be a giant and keep quiet about it,
To stay in one’s own place;
To stand for the constant presence of process
And always to seem the same;
To be steady as a rock and always trembling,
Having the hard appearance of death
With the soft, fluent nature of growth,
One’s Being deceptively armored,
One’s Becoming deceptively vulnerable,
To be so tough, and take the light so well,
Freely providing forbidden knowledge
Of so many things about heaven and earth
For which we should otherwise have no word-
Poems or people are rarely so lovely,
And even when they have great qualities
They tend to tell you rather then exemplify
What they believe themselves to be about,
While from the moving silence of trees,
Whether in storm or calm, in leaf and naked,
Night or day, we draw conclusions of our own,
Sustaining and unnoticed as our breath,
And perilous also-though there has never been
A critical tree-about the nature of things.

– Howard Nemerov, “Trees”


Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Autumn Movement

Faraway flight

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman,
the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.
The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things
come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go,
not one lasts.
- Carl Sandburg
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