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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry for the Mind's Joy > Winning Poem: Last Leaf Before Winter
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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.

To put in words, I know not how.
Your love is beyond what I can speak, or even pen.
I cannot know the vastness that is your heart,
yet I seek you so.
To know you fully is my desire;
but can my heart contain it?
Can my mind comprehend your infinite greatness?
You see beyond my blemishes.
You forgive my every transgression.
When comfort I cannot find,
your warmth embraces me.
Peace you freely give.
This love is beyond measure.
Who am I
that I may receive a love such as this?
I have seen death and been spared,
my loved ones given back to me.
To this great love, none compare.
Treasures have you given me:
one, two, and three.
And, without a doubt, I know
your promise will I see.
Oh that I may return
a morsel of what you’ve given me.

Fort Scott Community College, Fort Scott, KS
Faculty Contact: Ronda Bailey, English and Literature Instructor