Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The Meteor Night
The meteor night ...
... rounds off the second week
of August. We spread an ancient carpet over
grass, and sweep it clean, then roll it up
to pass the first dew's fall. Friends come, bearing
food and vacuum bottles, blankets, pillows,
sweaters, and good cheer, staking out
what are believed to be the front-row seats.
The guests trail whiffs of basil, sage and mint
where cuffs encountered these along the path.
Sunset drains away from Jasper Mountain's
scree. A screen door bangs; small bodies hurtle
in and out of inner space. Tea
and coffee make their rounds, and someone says:
"I see a star -- the first!" Vega, usually,
unless it is a planetary summer.
One of the young ones knows his sky charts better
than we do; he walks us through the brighter stars,
small arm sweeping the great ecliptic:
"This is Regulus; the red one is Antares;
And that is Altair." We tell him we like Altair;
a fire so hot it looks a point of ice
dropping to where the golden sun went down.
"Look, look," shout others sitting near. Some
turn, as often happens, a hair late;
the quick ones tell them what they've seen.
A spark has overrun an arc of sky
from beyond the neighbor's nodding cows,
fading as it neared the shadowed oaks.
We settle now to a serious evening's work,
this witnessing of evanescent shows
these stones make, vanishing in our air
-- all as it were to entertain frail creatures
hardly less ephemeral than themselves.