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Ripening

by
 The longer we are together
the larger death grows around us.
How many we know by now who are dead! We, who were young, now count the cost of having been.
And yet as we know the dead we grow familiar with the world.
We, who were young and loved each other ignorantly, now come to know each other in love, married by what we have done, as much as by what we intend.
Our hair turns white with our ripening as though to fly away in some coming wind, bearing the seed of what we know.
It was bitter to learn that we come to death as we come to love, bitter to face the just and solving welcome that death prepares.
But that is bitter only to the ignorant, who pray it will not happen.
Having come the bitter way to better prayer, we have the sweetness of ripening.
How sweet to know you by the signs of this world!

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