beside the embers

I found her sitting outside alone when I went back out to douse the campfire. Her heart language is Chinese, but here in my back yard she was using her phone to find words in English to capture what she was feeling. She showed me the little screen and a collection of words she thought perfect. Then we both were thrilled. She had just discovered one of my very favorite poems on her own. Here is Yeats’ “When You Are Old”

“When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur a little sadly how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.”

Sometimes there is immediate communication, if even just a sweetest glimpse, that touches beyond culture and light years, and languages and time. Even if I had her language ability, I am not sure I would have been able to search out words as meaningful. But we both know the same well spring of deepest meaning. We speak out of completely different cultures, but we both have come to love the One who is “riding atop the mountains.”

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