Meeting Without Surprise



Out of the snowdrift
Which covered it, this pillared
Sundial starts to lift,

Able now at last
To let its frozen hours
Melt into the past

In bright, ticking drops.
Time so often hastens by,
Time so often stops—

Still, it strains belief
How an instant can dilate,
Or long years be brief.

Dreams, which interweave
All our times and tenses, are
What we can believe:

Dark they are, yet plain,
Coming to us now as if
Through a cobwebbed pane

Where, before our eyes,
All the living and the dead
Meet without surprise.

–Richard Wilbur

This poem is for a winter’s day and for the vigil we are all holding for our dear friend Bonnie. That last stanza, “Where, before our eyes,/All the living and dead/Meet without surprise”, has come closer to capturing the ineffable for me this morning than anything else I can say. Bless you Bonnie. Bless you.

2 Replies to “Meeting Without Surprise”

  1. diana johnson says:

    It is a sad sorrow when we know the end of a loved is impending; it is a sad place to know you will no longer be able converse and share. It is something I did not dare to ask; before she died…will you talk to me? A miracle is born…Will you survive, a miracle be born, will I survive?

  2. Di, You of the larger than life heart, you whose world wisdom leaves me speechless, I know you know. Thank you for walking this with me.

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