From a Window

From a Window

Incurable and unbelieving
in any truth but the truth of grieving,

I saw a tree inside a tree
rise kaleidoscopically

as if the leaves had livelier ghosts.
I pressed my face as close

to the pane as I could get
to watch that fitful, fluent spirit

that seemed a single being undefined
or countless beings of one mind

haul its strange cohesion
beyond the limits of my vision

over the house heavenwards.
Of course I knew those leaves were birds.

Of course that old tree stood
exactly as it had and would

(but why should it seem fuller now?)
and though a man’s mind might endow

even a tree with some excess
of life to which a man seems witness,

that life is not the life of men.
And that is where the joy came in.

–Christian Wiman

tree-flock-birds_David Biggs
Photo by David Biggs

 

5 thoughts on “From a Window

  1. Gorgeous description of the miracle and the grief unified in the metaphor – this may have to be illustrated in some way. I think you are a miracle in my life.

    Becky

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  2. There is no consolation like a spiritual vision. Thank you for bringing this poem out for us to see. Now those of us who share your grief, and your hope, can better picture joy.

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  3. There is truth in grieving but I think most people don’t allow themselves the time to grieve “properly.” Society is arranged so people have a day, maybe three, to bury their dead and then it’s back to “life as normal.” Except there is no normal; everything has changed and will never be the same. I’m not sure I ever knew normal anyway.

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  4. Your explorations into poetry are full of gifts. Just the first stanza – the truth of grieving – seems enough of an acknowledgment and meditation and then there is so much more to be touched by and appreciate…even joy waiting.

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