Winter Paradise (A Poem by Kathleen Raine)

Jan 30, 2020
winter clouds

Now I am old and free from time
How spacious life,
Unbeginning unending sky where the wind blows
The ever-moving clouds and clouds of starlings on the wing,
Chaffinch and apple-leaf across my garden lawn,
Winter paradise
With its own birds and daisies
And all the near and far that eye can see,
Each blade of grass signed with the mystery
Across whose face unchanging everchanging pass
Summer and winter, day and night.
Great countenance of the unknown known
You have looked upon me all my days,
More loved than lover’s face,
more merciful than the heart, more wise
Than spoken word, unspoken theme
Simple as earth in whom we live and move.

For reflection in solitude or in the company of others: Which season of life are you experiencing now? How do you respond to the poet’s assertion that in old age life becomes spacious? The final line might remind you of a favorite collect found in Morning Prayer, addressed to the Holy One “in whom we live and move and have our being.” You can find this prayer on page 100 of the Book of Common Prayer. Try praying it today!