Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wide open

O World, I cannot hold thee close enough!
     Thy winds, thy wide great skies!
     Thy mists that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with color! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!  

Long have I known a glory in it all,
     But never knew I this:
     Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart. Lord, I do fear
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year.
My soul is all but out of me, --let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

I have felt this, keenly. 

I just spoke of it here and it seems to be fringing the edges of my heart these days...this swelling and bursting. Longing and aching.

And, yes, it begins with the splitting wide of my heart to make room for all of the glory ringed round. It stops me short when I chase the boys under the canopy of heaven and the sun leaks through the limbs and showers yellow all about us. The boys, they flit and fly. They try to catch even a single leaf to put in their pocket where it will burn amber. And I watch and I know. Later this week, we will find their ashes when we go to wash and crumbled gold dust will sift to the floor. The grit beneath my feet will chafe and I will look up and know. We tried to hold it close enough. 

Yes, I know this feeling. This burning. This desire. This looking all around and seeing beauty, heavy and dripping.

But soon, these trees will stop clapping and only their bony limbs will remain. Stripped of their raiment, they will stand naked and cold against the leaden skies. And what then? Will I be like a stilted lover whose heart has cooled with the dawn, chasing the shadows of night so as not to be discovered cleaving to a naked frame?

Oh, how fickle my heart is. 

Passion is not just throbbing emotion. It is a spreading out. An undergoing. An allowing of things to pass. A suffering, even.

It is me, hands outstretched, receiving. Always.

Yes, I want all of this beauty, all of this joy, all of this goodness. I want to press it to my lips. I want to  tattoo memories in the hidden places, so I will always remember.

But I need to pray to be pulled apart so that my soul is all but out of me. And, in the opening that is created, I need God to fall in.

Because, Lord, I have to hold thee close enough.

There is a winter coming.

Linking with Emily and Duane


  1. LOVE Edna St. Vincent Millay! Lovely post...sounds like worship and prayer!

  2. I want to bathe in these words and then drip dry, or not dry off at all. My heart swims in your poetic heart. Your soul sees things that we so often miss. You open up a world with your art, friend.

  3. Holly, I feel all of this too. May we savor every moment of the beauty shifting cameleon and yes Lord, prepare my heart to accept winter too. Lovely as always.

  4. "Passion is not just throbbing emotion. It is a spreading out. An undergoing. An allowing of things to pass. A suffering, even."

    ohhh, this made me weep, sister. the gripping, the suffering that is passion...when we let ourselves fall so deep and spread wide, the giving and the stretching can ache.

    so beautiful. visiting from emily's today

  5. Oh yes, the seasons are ever changing and no matter how tightly we grasp them they will change. Yet the joy in each one makes us hang on! Thank you for sharing! We're neighbors today at Scribing the Journey! Blessings!

  6. it does not come natural to me (to any of us?) to allow things to come to pass. i fight every day to make God and his world bend to my will, only to find that his love is unbreakable in more ways than i realized.

    thank you for sharing this. there is beauty and hope here, even as winter draws nigh...

  7. "But I need to pray to be pulled apart so that my soul is all but out of me. And, in the opening that is created, I need God to fall in." Um, yes. I need this, too :)

  8. This was truly beautiful! I ache to hold Him closer, too. I don't want winter to come and find me wanting!

  9. Oh, these seasons and they way they inform us of things unfurling. I think it's such a gift and you've said it so eloquently here. Beautiful, Holly.

  10. Lovely, lovely. You make me want to drag out my old first edition of Edna St. Vincent Millay's sonnets that I purchased as a teen and re-discover it. You must be having a spectacularly glowing autumn, just like we are. So much "beauty, heavy and dripping"!

  11. I love her, too! She captured my emotion perfectly in this poem.

  12. Elizabeth, thank you, as always.

  13. Shelly, I must admit, I am anxious about even naming a coming winter for fear of what might ensue...but I know that it is all seen, every moment of every day and so I shall not fear.

  14. Thank you for visiting, Rachel. And thank you for understanding the depth of passion...I am only beginning to, myself.

  15. So glad that you came to visit from Duane's place. And, yes, our grip doesn't make the present any more our own...we must be able to let go,and trust.

  16. Yes, Steven, there IS beauty and hope, I must only look for it..

  17. Don't we all, Lori? Glad to have a fellow pilgrim in this space.

  18. We should never want, right? But we still groan and ache as we lean into that truth. Oh, to hold Him close enough....

  19. Yes, the unfurling, it is a gift. Now, to open my hands to receive it, always.... thank you for your words, Annie.

  20. Oh it IS a glowing autumn and I almost can't bear the beauty. And a first edition book of sonnets!?! Lucky girl!

  21. I am anxious to wake.
    It starts at five....I
    do not want fall to fall...
    I get goosebumps
    literally when I see the "colours"..

  22. Holly it was beauty and sadness all mixed together. Beauty should make me happy but sometimes it makes me want to cry. Your writing makes me feel so many things. That is why I like. Love, Lori

  23. Lori, I don't think it is strange that beauty would move you to cry. I think it shows the depth of your feeling. Thank you for sharing your heart here.

  24. I'm glad too! :) Yes we must let go and trust Him! Blessings!

  25. Whenever I finish reading a piece written by you, I find myself exclaiming, "O, God!" And I'm pretty sure I'm not swearing, either. You lead me to prayer, real deep, heartfelt prayer. And that, dear girl, is a gift beyond measure. Thank you.

  26. Diana,
    I am humbled by your words. My heartfelt response is, oh, that we always do that for each other. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Joining with you, Diana, in deep, heartfelt prayer.
    Thank you.

  27. May you find just as much beauty--just as much God--in winter.