November hymnal (22)
So, after gratitude: the third part of autumn.
Questions without punctuation
Like love poems which will find answers only
When they reach the wrong person
In another language. Then the late slant
Of sun appears to end a sentence
Without words. No hope of early release.
The moon is balanced on the sky’s highest
Tent pole, just above the bear on the bicycle.
But nobody sees the bicycle. Suddenly
In the night’s back third we’re all up there
Clutching the ring to our parachutes
In the diffident cold, like all the stars
And no less courageous for it, our panic
Making a shape for strangers
Holding hands below.
When there are stars
The train is always departing
Or skidding through without stopping.
Because the crows blend in to the night sky
They lose their right to complain
If a thought intrudes on the view.
The thought– it wakes you in the night
After the candle has guttered into its glass
And the house is a helmet too small to wear
When there are stars. The thought’s engine
Is fierce but its tracks have already been laid,
It will go right on by whether consciousness
Stands by with its ticket or not:
When the train wakes me in the dark
I think of people I know, the cost
Of their freight, of a mile of empty cars
Pushing through the darkness with dust
Their only passengers. In the morning
The crows stomp their feet soundlessly
But can finally speak again, about everything
They saw when their eyes were closed
And they slept above the earth, like the stars
We do not see during the day. About
An empty train and what it used to carry.
To the Tune of a Song Not Yet Written 
I walk up my own street after sunset.
The moon is not yet up and the last streetlight
is behind me. Slowly, slowly I trudge up the hill
and slowly, slowly my shadow fades into the dark bricks.
I have lost myself and where I am going
but with no streetlights the roof has been taken off
the world. If I stood still I could find and count a star
for each of the eighteen thousand days I have lived so far.
Here in the dark stretch of street they are with me.
With my shadow gone and the dark bricks
pretending not to move at the speed of stars.
Early Summer, Cape Cod
To the world we go, extinguishing and compelled.
Early summer evening. Through a knot of fireflies
A few stars showing. To the world
an evening of fireflies and an epoch of stars
are the same, just what I see, no difference.
I will remember this firefly and this evening
as they travel at light’s speed into a past
beyond existence at the same speed a star’s memory
travels into the future to meet this evening,
this view. To the world depth starts to go
its own way towards deterioration and someone
determines it’s time to start counting the stars.