I miss the dark. Nights pitchblack as pitch in the seams of the planks of boats on a starlit sea when you walk in a garden with hands out in front in case you walk into a tree. Moonless nights where stars let you grope over rocks at the beach with blind eye – and then the moon rises like the sunlit reflecting rock that it is. Then you can see. Can see why. Why I miss the dark.
This poem was originally published in Snakeskin. It seems to have a structure, i.e. it isn’t completely formless. Perhaps it needs more work. But it’s very much like the rural moonless nights where I was brought up, and where I have returned. I stumble around happily in many aspects of life.
Full midnight moon on fields that yield but snows, Air apple-clean, crisp, sweet In lungs and nose, The only sound your feet Past silent woods – Inhaling moods and modes Of midnight roads.
In twenty minutes, you hear only this: A dog bark twice. An owl hoot once. A horse snort by a fence. Some heavy breath behind a hedge: a cow. A mile away a car’s lights show, then go. You walk unknown, alone, towards some place With light and life, perhaps a warm cafe To make a break in travelling towards day.
This quiet little winter poem (sorry about the timing, Australia…) was first published in The Orchards Poetry Journal. The editors tend toward the bucolic and the formal… but they make exceptions, thank goodness, because this piece is not quite formal. It may be in iambics, but without a pattern to the line length or to what rhyme there is.
But it’s true to the winter outdoor experience–and pleasant enough, so long as you have good boots and adequate clothes!