Into our bedroom’s dark funk, before dawn,
For the first time in months, drift fragments of song.
A robin—just back—on the garage roof
Threads this northern silence with notes.
Freezing drizzle, gray pall, the lawn piebald with snow–
But he’s giving thanks. His three limpid phrases
Of praise rise & fall, piercing my caul of sleep.
He’s the bridegroom of half-light, of dream.
Wished-for as clean water, the bright drops of his song
Stitch winter to spring. We’re no longer alone–
His voice marries us, and this is his psalm:
To live is to give voice. All days are one.
This is the time of shape shifters. The skyline morphs
From peach to indigo. Raccoons materialize from drains.
Commuters climb into their carcoons, corpuscles in the city’s veins.
Houses exhale & stretch. Porch lights snap on.
The great blue heron flaps back to her roost. The barred owl
In the white pine blinks his yellow eyes, feels hunger stir.
A siren shrieks & from the shades, unseen coyotes keen:
A high, wild chorus to misfortune.
This is the time when, from the greenworld, deer appear,
As if formed out of smoke, in twos & threes,
To crop the grass with delicate precision. Shades of the ancestors
Drift closer, haunting the perimeters of home.
There is so much to fear in the country of darkness.
You’ll think you’re sinking, you could founder in its waters,
That you’ll vanish like a bright coin tossed in a well,
That you’ll never swim back up or be recovered.
Know this: that one day you’ll be found
Up on the moors at midsummer, with curlews bubbling,
Cupped in rainwater in the hollow of an ancient stone.
A boy will find & burnish you & keep you in his pocket.
The moon’s bone ball swivels slowly in the socket of sky.
Night’s a corrective, a necessary physic.
Only at night can you glimpse the history of distant stars.
Only at night can you see how small, & how accompanied, you are.