IV. The Fireflies
I have climbed blind the way down through the trees(How faint the phosphorescence of the stones)On nights when not a light showed on the bayAnd nothing marked the line of sky and sea—Only the beating of the heart definedA space of being in the faceless dark,The foot that found and won the path from blindness,The hand, outstretched, that touched on branch and bark.The soundless revolution of the starsBrings back the fireflies and each constellation,And we are here half-shielded from that heightWhose star-points feed the white lactation, farIncandescence where the single starIs lost to sight. This is a waiting time.Those thirty, lived-out years were slow to rhymeWith consonances unforeseen, and, gone,Were brief beneath the seasons and the sun.We wait now on the absence of our dead,Sharing the middle world of moving lightsWhere fireflies taking torches to the roseHover at those clustered, half-lit porches,Eyelid on closed eyelid in their glowFlushed into flesh, then darkening as they go.The adagio of lights is gatheringAcross the sway and counter-lines as bayAnd sky, contrary in motion, swerveAgainst each other's patternings, while theseTiny, travelling fires gainsay them both,Trusting to neither empty space nor seasThe burden of their weightless circlings. We,Knowing no more of death than other menWho make the last submission and return,Savour the good wine of a summer's nightFronting the islands and the harbour bar,Uncounted in the sum of our unknowingsHow sweet the fireflies’ span to those who live it,Equal, in their arrivals and their goings,With the order and the beauty of star on star.
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