Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness: A Poem by Mary Oliver

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out
to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing, as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married
to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do
if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?
So let us go on
though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

For reflection in solitude or in the company of others: What images come to you as you read this poem? What feelings accompany these images? How do you respond to the poet’s insistence that “the love one claims to have for the world” is not easy? How deeply do you trust that “the vivacity of what was is married to the vitality of what will be?

Cathedral of the Incarnation