The wild geese

October’s wind-swept days have come,
the air turned chill, the trees all bare.
From waters off Jamaica Bay
through early morning’s mist and fog,
the long-necked geese are taking flight.
Their darkened beaks like shadows
rend the skies, their mournful cries
recalling autumns now long past
and summers that could never last.
In this time of changing seasons,
of swirling leaves and muffled rain
that gently grays the muted dawn –
   a piercing stillness –
and my Master too was gone.
Like migrant geese that fly away
in answer to some silent call,
he parted for a distant world,
    a sunlit clime,
just leaving winter far behind.

The snow falls deep in endless drifts
   heavy, wide and full;
soon buries all in whitest grief.
Time slows, then stops as life grows still –
and nothing moves or ever will.
My lips freeze shut, my throat turns numb;
my eyes in glaze like frosted glass.
Inside this changeless world of ice,
this glacial world, this frozen vast,
my heart becomes the deepest well,
   the darkest empty – cold and damp;
and like a narrow stairway steep
where dimming light is never caught,
my spirit sinks to blackest thought.
This winter surely shall not pass.

Outside my life the days go on;
the earth acquires a softer hue.
Brooks once frozen winter still
    bestir with life.
Sprouting saplings, sweet young grass
    reach up for light.
Leaf-green laughter bursts like shoots –
   golden faces lifted sunward.
Thrilling to the rush of spring,
even the sky begins to sing.
But here in the dark the coldness remains;
here in my heart the snow is forever.
Aloof from the world, away from sight,
I dream the sleep of arctic night.

In months or years I cannot say,
when through my mind the seasons pass
and autumn there returns at last,
this winter dream will finally end.
That day when all the trees are bare,
their leaves full blown across the lake,
something fierce in me shall break
   wild and sudden free.
With a sharp but soundless thunder cry,
like the white-throat geese I too shall fly
through soaring blue of endless sky
to that shining world beyond the sun,
    all calm and bright,
where my Master sits on his throne of light
and life eternal is calling me.

Revised

Oct. 11, 2007