A December Tenderness

From the tawny light
from the rainy nights
from the imagination finding
itself and more than itself
alone and more than alone
at the bottom of the well where the moon lives,
can you pull me
into December? a lowland
of space, perception of space
towering of shadows of clouds blown upon
clouds over
                  new ground, new made
under heavy December footsteps? the only
way to live?
The flawed moon
acts on the truth, and makes
an autumn of tentative
You lived, but somewhere else,
your presence touched others, ring upon ring,
and changed. Did you think
I would not change?
                              The black moon
turns away, its work done. A tenderness,
unspoken autumn.
We are faithful
only to the imagination. What the
as beauty must be truth. What holds you
to what you see of me is
that grasp alone.
~Denise Levertov “Everything that acts is actual”
Within these days of early winter
is disappearance of the familiar world,
of all that grows and thrives,
of color and freshness,
of hope in survival.
Then there comes a moment of softness amid the bleak,
a gift of grace and beauty,
a glance of sunlight on a snowy hillside,
a covering of low cloud puffs in the valley,
a moon lit landscape,
and I know the known world is still within my grasp
because you have hold of me.

8 thoughts on “A December Tenderness

  1. I haven’t yet had a whole year of your inspiration, Emily, but I thank you for the Advent feast. I’m reluctant to leave it. Carol


  2. Powerful words, beautifully (and eerily) presented with photos.
    My first impression of the third picture was wondering if it were a preview of how things might appear as we pass from earthly death to life eternal. (Just a thought.)
    This pic transfixed me in a dramatic way. I went back several times to view it. Wish it were identified as to place and time when taken.


  3. Am not sure if I identified the correct picture because some of the pics seem to be two in one.
    The one to which I refer is the one that is darkness all around with the light in the center.


  4. So beautiful. I have just been able to take some time for me after having 9 of my grandchildren, their parents, my baby sister, her family of 5 and my 89 year old mother here to share the 2nd day of Jesus’ birth. The rolled grape leaves (dolma) that was passed down from my husband’s family(his father was born in Bethlehem many years ago) was enjoyed by all. I’m so glad I checked in with your inspiration. Thanks for sharing such beauty, the colors are wonderful…God grants me such inspiration in his handiwork for my quiltmaking!


  5. Yes, Emily, that seems to fit the description. It really IS mesmerizing. I copied to my desktop.
    A retreat director could use this very effectively. It has ready-made biblical implications. It is also perfect for my meditation right now at this particular time in my life. Thank you.


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