pythia’s leaves

The field was green as Eden
Then it withered into brown
In the middle of my grieving
They came and cut it down
And I was sure that it was all my fault
The day they mowed the garden to the ground

What was good, good, good
Is gone, gone, gone
And there’s a little boy who’s lost out in the woods
Always looking for the fawn

So come back to me
Please, come back to me
Is there any way that we can change the ending of this tragedy?
Or does it have to be this way?

[ Andrew Peterson ]

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

[ Gerard Manley Hopkins ]

I sit on the bench at the bend in the trail
And I can feel in the fall the final exhale
The trees of the field all wring their hands
And the leaves go by like a funeral band
“Come back soon”

We wake in the night in the womb of the world
We beat our fists on the door
We cannot breathe in this sea that swirls
So we groan in this great darkness
Are we alone in this great darkness?

If nature’s red in tooth and in claw
Then it seems to me that she’s an outlaw
‘Cause every death is a question mark
At the end of the book of a beating heart
And the answer is scrawled in the silent dark

On the dome of the sky in a billion stars
But we cannot read these angel tongues
And we cannot stare at the burning sun
And we cannot sing with these broken lungs

[ Andrew Peterson ]

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

[ Robert Frost ]

Now I can see the world is charged
It’s glimmering with promises
Written in a script of stars
Dripping from prophets’ lips

But still my thirst is never slaked
I am hounded by a restlessness
Eaten by this endless ache
But still I will give thanks for this

‘Cause I can see it in the seas of wheat
I can feel it when the horses run
It’s howling in the snowy peaks
It’s blazing in the midnight sun

Just behind a veil of wind
A million angels waiting in the wings
A swirling storm of cherubim
Making ready for the Reckoning

[ Andrew Peterson ]

And in the end, the burning words scrawled on leaves, the fortunes we could not read, are all signs of something coming that we could not comprehend.

We are blind. And we shall see.

The world is broken, and yet all shall be well, and Andrew Peterson’s words are yet again helping me through it. Pythia is the Oracle of Delphi; in N.D. Wilson’s Ashtown Burials, she gives advice by writing burning words on leaves, words which the reader is never told.

Then the perfect son of man
Took the place the voice had planned
Since the garden and before
He took the swords and cursed the grave
There’s nothing more to separate us from the promise

And this my soul you were born into
What this man has done, it all extends to you
Let the words shake on down along your spine
And ring out true that you might find

new life.
[ The Gray Havens ]


3 thoughts on “pythia’s leaves”

  1. This is beautiful, Maya! Andrew Peterson’s lyrics are gorgeous and on-point as usual, but I also love that Gerard Manley Hopkins poem…I’m working on memorizing it, so it was a treat to see it here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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