"Fear defeated me. And yet,
not in faith and not in madness
but with the courage I thought
my dream deserved,
I stepped outside. It was gone.
Then I whirled at the sound of some
Did I see a black haunch slipping
back through the trees? Did I see
the moonlight shining on it? Did I actually reach out my arms
toward it, toward paradise falling, like
the fading of the dearest, wildest hope ---
the dark heart of the story that is all
the reason for its telling?"
—Mary Oliver, from The Chance to Love Everything
(With thanks to Kim, who has impeccable timing)