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Letting Go

By David Whyte

At the end

things pass away

into a hard won perspective.

The sepia photographs

of childhood

like twilight encounters

with eternity

and the youthful

laughter peeling

across a mountainside.

Standing close together

we make our vows

in front of others


with a backward

kind of courage

that everything


away no matter

how precious

the memory

and that

even in this

we recognize

the flourish

and the firm

signature of love.

Everything we ever

held in our hands

is given to another

or slips like sand

through the gate

of our fingers

into something

which to begin with

we cannot recognize.

Everything we ever

held in our hands

is given away

in marriage to another

person or another world.

How could we know

the blessings

which illuminated our days?

The joy too strong to feel

until it was

no longer there to disturb us.

We find ourselves

always at last

ennobled by the encounter

the wedding vows

remembered at the end

and cherished now

like a live hand

holding a dead hand

loving everything it must let go.

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