This past September, Patricia Thompson sent this poem to a small circle that gathers to talk about vocation. The poem has stayed with me this long, beautiful autumn. It seems to speak subtly to to my own middle-aged situation, and in different ways, to the situation of several friends.
See if it speaks to you.
If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one,
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure — if I can let you go.