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Friday, September 20, 2013

The sweet birds' return

I recently read another of Frederick Buechner’s books, called The Yellow Leaves. This is the forward that the  82 year old Buechner launches the book with. I thought it was rather beautiful. Full of longing and acceptance. Side by side.

"The time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those bough which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang
-          William Shakespeare

I can still write sentences and paragraphs, but for some five or six years now I haven’t been able to write books. Maybe after more than thirty of them the well has at last run dry. Maybe, age eighty, I no longer have the right kind of energy. Maybe the time has simply come to stop. Whatever the reason, at least for the moment the sweet birds no longer sing.

On the other hand, during this unproductive time I started a number of things which for one reason or another I decided to leave unfinished but which, on rereading, I decided maybe had enough life in them to warrant inclusion in a volume like this. A story, some reminiscences, a handful of poems about my family, a scene form a novel – they are the yell leaves that hang upon these boughs that are not so bare and ruined but that they still dream from time to time of the sweet birds’ return."

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