Night Light

I stood in a field of stubble, lost
In the ghostly broadcast of a snow
And a north wind gusting through the ruts
Rattled the leavings just below.
I looked and saw by my left shoe
Hung from the stiff twig of its plant
A surviving paper lantern of
The wild ground cherry, dry and scant.
In all that crudity of corn,
It was so finely made a grace
It might have dropped off God’s key chain
As he was walking in that place
Or been left there by elves a little
Drunk still from their harvest ball
The Monday they went back to work
On taking down the rest of fall.
Because it held against the damage
Coarser, clumsier grain did not,
It made me think that careful work
Might last the winter of our lot.
Chance stood me next to it, I know.
Chance grew it there, but, contrariwise,
It cheered me so it was as if
It had been hung there for my eyes.
It was not shining: the long fall rains
Had hissed it out on its straw pole,
But morning never brought such light
To the darkening thoroughfare of my soul.

–September 1, 1990

(“Night Light” appeared in the March 2000 issue of Troubadour, San Antonio TX.)

Published on November 28, 2006 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

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