Mark Tredinnick Poem #1

When the Panic


When the silence grows shrill in you and won’t be said;

When the sadness grows deep in you, like winter, but will


Not well; when the panic rises, like the past, and won’t

Be shaken; when five years of untaken sleep become


A nightmare of doubt, a life in drought; when the fear

Wakes before you with the scissors in its hands; when


Hope becomes a harder case than you know how to make;

When the floor drops out from everything you thought


You were and meant and knew; when the world shrinks

Back to shibboleth and nothing peaceful anywhere knows


The letters of your name—I want you to remember this:

The panic passes, the fear will end; the pieces into which


Your days have frayed and fallen will become a life

Again, and it will be your own. You’ll never get over


Any of this, but you will, without a doubt, get through.

You will stand glad under a winter moon and smell


The weather change and know that when you wake

It will be spring,

and the years will have turned their faces back

Toward all the light that’s fallen your way from the start.