Monday, December 24, 2007

Just past the solstice

Winter arrived in Chicago well before the solstice, and now we're relieved that the hasty days of paltry sunlight squeezed between the great smothering arms of darkness are pushing back. In the meantime, I've been rereading a favorite poet, Edward Hirsch. This is from a treasured collection, Earthly Measures.


We couldn't tell if it was a fire in the hills
Or the hills themselves on fire, smoky yet
Incandescent, too far away to comprehend.
And all this time we were traveling toward
Something vaguely burning in the distance--
A shadow on the horizon, a fault line--
A blue and cloudy peak which never seemed
To recede or get closer as we approached.
And that was all we knew about it
As we stood by the window in a waning light
Or touched and moved away from each other
And turned back to our books. But it remained
Even so, like the thought of a coal fading
On the upper left-hand side of our chests,
A destination that we bore within ourselves.
And there were those--were they the lucky ones?--
Who were unaware of rushing toward it.
And the blaze awaited them, too.

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