Yesterday's Advent Calendar for Grieving People had a poem by Emily Brontë and I have been pausing there with her. 'Fifteen wild Decembers' means a person who is fifteen years out in her grief. Yet, the poet - who is expert at staying with the feeling places of the heart - shows us where the passing of time might take us, and she shows us her haunted path and tender resolve in the final stanza. I find it highly instructive to consider her matured and seasoned vantage point.
Cold in the earth -- and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?
Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains, on that northern shore,
Resting their wings where heath and fern leaves cover
Thy noble heart forever, ever more?
Cold in the earth -- and fifteen wild Decembers,
From those brown hills, have melted into spring;
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!
Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee,
While the world's tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!
No later light has lightened up my heaven,
No second morn has ever shone for me;
All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee.
But, when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even Despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.
Then did I check the tears of useless passion --
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.
And, even yet, I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in memory's rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?
For the online Advent Calendar for Grieving People, including a video of Emily's poem, click HERE.