forest shadows laced with flower-musk,
I chased a veery through the moonless dusk,
And ran and stumbled, blindly led along,
So fascinated by his spiral song,
I did not see the darkness creeping up,
The sun's last embers quenched, as in a cup.
That voice of ether — a
Sped through the leaves to play upon my heart,
Whirled down like petals, fell like crystal rain
To pierce my skin and sing in every vein;
Then faded, as the forest lost the light,
And as I lost the bird to fall of night.
My steps descending with the fading sound,
I felt the ferns give way to marshy ground,
Whose blossoms, lit by Heaven left ajar,
Could match the orbs of Heaven, star for star.
Then, as the silk of twilight slid away,
The sky turned velvet, to commence the day
For owl, for fox, for bobcat, and for deer;
I did not wait to watch that troupe appear,
But leapt towards the sounds of home, and ran —
Oh, there is panic in the pipes of Pan!
I crashed through brambles, and through banks of briar,
Across the stones of walls, and through the mire
And clay of streambeds, fleet as any fawn,
Until a thicket gave way to a lawn,
Where fell upon me, dissonant and loud,
The harsh and grating voices of the proud,
Who lounged with drinks in hand, or simply stood
And marveled at the spirit of the wood.
No gentleman arose, no lady smiled —
Give me the night, the terrors of the wild.
In meadows where a fall of moonlight made
A summer freshet, dewing every blade
With hue of milky shell, of heron's feather,
I walked to see what we might paint together —
The moon and I. No fear that I could drown
In sable darkness once her sphere went down,
Rose up to daunt me, as I paused to stand
Alone, with sunlight's canvas in my hand,
Before the black expanses of the sky —
The full moon and the camera, eye to eye.
Clouds rushed across her face, a glowing swirl
Like wine dissolving Cleopatra's pearl,
And then she waxed again, within a ring
Of silver, captured in the pasture spring.
She soared through veils of mist to freeze and burn,
Then poured her light on lavender and fern,
On house and barn, and made their angles sharp.
The warm wind made the maple trees one harp,
While crickets added to that midnight song
Their symphony, a million seasons long.
Stars of the Crab, ascending high in June,
Observe cold summers on the windless moon,
And follow her with frosty eyes as she
Sustains a lasting vow of constancy:
To ride in splendor with no satellite,
A ghost by day, the poet of the night.
Strange beauty shimmers in the bright caress
That makes Earth's unseen colors colorless,
And on the glass whose magic can enthrone
A falcon's eye, where eyes see only stone:
One tiny frame— an inch
that holds the All —
Give me the sky, to mount upon my wall.
(Note: The veery, or willow-thrush, is an
American songbird related to the nightingale.)
© 2008 by Ellin
Anderson. All rights reserved.
No part of this work may be copied or used in any way
without written permission from the author.