Sunday, November 16, 2014

As through the veil

Time for a poem. This poem reminds me of what CS Lewis says in Pilgrim’s Regress about Sehnsucht, where he writes:
That unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World's End, the opening lines of "Kubla Khan", the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves.
These fleeting moments of delight and/or desire sometimes feel as though they have briefly rent the veil, and we see the world as it was meant to be, or maybe even sense heaven itself.

I used to try to hold on to beautiful things, and feel a great sadness at their passing, but these days I feel more like I can appreciate them and let them go by, knowing that one day they will all return.

Image from Backcountry Gallery.

Snow Geese

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
        What a task
            to ask
of anything, or anyone,

yet it is ours,
    and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.

One fall day I heard
    above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was

a flock of snow geese, winging it
    faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun

so they were, in part at least, golden. I

held my breath
as we do
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us

as with a match,
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,

but delightfully,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.

The geese
flew on,
I have never
seen them again.

Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won't.
It doesn't matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.

Mary Oliver
~Why I Wake Early

1 comment:

Linda said...

I love the feel of this poem (and of the Lewis quote) THANK YOU! I must look up this poet. BTW the photo is the perfect go-with for your post. All so beautiful. Thank you.