Stars, Memories, and Stories

Asked to describe the night sky
He recognized his deficiency
Not knowing summer’s stars
As he knew winter’s,
As if as a child,
Busy playing,
He failed to look up
At gifts awaiting him:
Myths and legends,
History of the universe
Slowly told by fading giants
Sending their stories
Through vast space
To his imagination awaiting them
On this verdant planet alone
Needing to tell tales
Nowhere else told.

Now they are clues for him
To be alone in the telling,
Truly alone,
An alone he once feared,
An alone he now embraces
Like that child embraced play
So inside the moment it forgot
To be remembered
And was better for the forgetting.

Venus shines brightest,
As always,
Gently reminding him of the sun
Now lighting the play of children
Forgetting to save memories
In other hemispheres
Happy,
As only children know.

The city is close enough
Its vast and arrogant lights
Hide the full story,
Though hints remain:
Like treasure hunts,
A glitter here,
A twinkle there.

He thought of Odysseus
Navigating the turbulent rage of Poseidon
By their lights
To return home to Penelope
Faithful weaver and unweaver of cloth
She’d only finish when his ship’s mast
Pointed to the sky that awaited them
Two old souls
At the end of their journey
Meant to sit together
Counting stars to measure love
Limitless, like the journey of a life
Lived inside the safety of hearts
That only know a story children can tell
Playing together
Memories forgotten
And better off for it.

Some nights fireflies
Are more than enough
Like tonight
Walking alone
His way finally lit.

Image: John William Waterhouse – Ulysses and the Sirens (1891)

Teak Arms

Come and nestle into the nook you chose
Along my gunwale. Rest. I wrap my teak
Arms around you to fend off night. Trace your
Legend between stars, twinkling as they do.

Today, you sacrificed ashes of life
To the Father tormenting your journey
Home. The dust will not heal your wounds or His,
But appeasement will blind him long enough –

His people invite you to the Phaeacian
Feast to hear the substance of your toils.
They lift you up on deck of their swift ship
Sail you home to the Faithful and Longing.

The planks of my own arms, softened by tears:
A bee sting, a disturbed nest on the path
Where you, child, excavated tiny stones
The earliest memory of journey

Are strong tonight – we have no place to be.
Our journey awaits the rose-red fingers
Of Dawn to wrap around your heart again
Teasing tiny sparks from dark, inspiring

Another stop, another mile of miles
To go before you sleep again in this
Nook of my gunwale where I will wrap
You, once again, safe in my soft teak arms.