Today's poem is by Jeff Gundy

"Night, the Astonishing..."

One star only, and all the trees looming, not my enemies
nor my friends. Hölderlin praises the night: "the stranger

to all that is human," "mournful and gleaming."
But this night is wet heat and the insects that crave

any blood the way I crave red wine and whisky,
sweet words in a row, and whatever it is we call God.

Inside, the lights press against the window,
show the stove and shelves, the table with its bottles,

all these homely things shining and the night behind them.
Luna pads to the door, and I let her out. It's late.

I am not a cat or a soldier to be out in the dark,
not the farmer in his roaring combine, taking off the wheat

before it rains. I walked in the hot woods all day,
I read and hummed and muttered on the soul and the spirit,

but there is no more in me than one star might say:
that it fused and changed itself for centuries, consumed

its own being to cast something outward, that its hot light
sailed reckless as Lucifer through oceans of space

to wash up on this undreamed, dark, occupied island,
to be gathered and known, to be spoken among the trees.

Copyright © 2008 Jeff Gundy All rights reserved
from Spoken among the Trees
The University of Akron Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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