Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Turning of the Stars


This was published in the same edition of POEM as "White Water Bend" (see previous post). It's also another poem in which I have stars on the brain ... but then I almost majored in astronomy! The pic (public domain) is of the Pleiades, a star cluster in Taurus and representing the seven daughters of Atlas.


The Turning of the Stars


Out in the field after midnight.
No street lights to renovate the sky
with cheap white paint.
Things are fine the way they are.
The Milky Way pinwheels with the hours,
and I am content to breathe cold air,
anchored in dry blades of winter
while Orion chases the bear.

It is good to be alone in the night.
The faraway diamonds, though precise as lasers,
cannot throw your shadow to the ground
so that any question remains as to who you really are.
The only black shape in human form is you.
You are the life of the field,
the whisper of winter
forming whatever constellation of syllables you wish.
The other selves known to the man or woman
in the cabin by the tall pines
do not exist.
Things are fine the way they are:
grass,
diamonds,
the sharp air carving your midnight life.

I come here often.
Life is, after all, standing in the darkness
and whispering who we are.
It is the confidence to gaze in winter
at the turning of the stars.

12 comments:

Shesawriter said...

"The only black shape in human form is you. You are the life of the field,
the whisper of winter ..."

Loved this part especially. :-)

writtenwyrdd said...

Sometimes being alone is awesome, isn't it? I think the starry sky in winter, because it's so gigantic and dwarfs me with its magnificence, makes me feel at peace...because I am small compared to it, and part of something great by watching it.

Or something like that, lol.

Beautiful poetry, as usual. You make me consider trying to write poetry again. I gave it up as a serious venture about fifteen years ago.

Julie said...

I am content to breathe cold air
Anchored in dry blades of winter.

I know the feeling.

Billy said...

Shesa, thanks. I'm partial to this one too :)

Written, yes, try poetry again :) And you certainly zeroed in on the poem's theme--the need to be comfortable while being alone--quiet and confident--even though we are small creatures in the great scheme of things.

Thanks for stopping by, Julie. And yep, I have had to content myself many times with finding a zen-like moment of acceptance. Glad you liked it.

Julie said...

Billy - very much appreciate your reaction to my verse; done some song writing but only a handful of poems over years and years. I'm a northerner originally, and like a direct style.

Tomorrow I'm posting a revised version of a poem which Jane Holland at Raw Light helped me with. She's been doing an open poetry exercise in the last week.

Jane's the Warwick Poet Laureate and has interesting family background.
Link on my blog..& I'm starting to use one blog to dump raw images - word clay and revisions.(Coracle)

Cheers.

SzélsőFa said...

I liked your dystopian take on Bernita's contest, Billy.

Billy said...

Thanks, Szelsofa. I have not done very short fiction for a long time ... and it was really really HARD!!!! :)

Scott from Oregon said...

"I come here often.
Life is, after all, standing in the darkness
and whispering who we are"


You might recognize the author of this wondeful bit, and it may cause you to smile.

Sarah Hina said...

Beautiful, Billy.

Sometimes, gazing up at the stars makes me feel so very small. But this poem included me in its wide embrace, and made the stars feel close, and warm.

And of course you can link to my site! I would be honored to link to yours as well.

Wayne said...

Yes I know I'm damned crazy. It is minus 9 centigrade here tonight. I went out and had a look anyway.

Billy said...

Scott, thanks as always!

Sara, thank you for all of your lovely comments. I am honored because you are a gifted writer.

Wayne, LOL, thanks, but don't send me the medical bill if you contract pneumonia!

jason evans said...

This communicated that wonderful sense of the heavens moving in their ancient way, regardless of whether we're they're to see it.

Peeling away the nonsense and standing under the stars is a great way to be reminded of the simple realities.