May Sarton (1912-1995 / Belgium)
Leaves before the Wind
We have walked, looked at the actual trees:
The chestnut leaves wide-open like a hand,
The beech leaves bronzing under every breeze,
We have felt flowing through our knees
As if we were the wind.
We have sat silent when two horses came,
Jangling their harness, to mow the long grass.
We have sat long and never found a name
For this suspension in the heart of flame
That does not pass.
We have said nothing; we have parted often,
Not looking back, as if departure took
An absolute of will--once not again
(But this is each day's feat, as when
The heart first shook).
Where fervor opens every instant so,
There is no instant that is not a curve,
And we are always coming as we go;
We lean toward the meeting that will show
Love's very nerve.
And so exposed (O leaves before the wind!)
We bear this flowing fire, forever free,
And learn through devious paths to find
The whole, the center, and perhaps unbind
Where there are no roots, only fervent leaves,
Nourished on meditations and the air,
Where all that comes is also all that leaves,
And every hope compassionately lives
Close to despair.
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