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.



  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.


  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.


  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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