Monday, March 22, 2004

About Eight Minutes of Light

I'm lying in tall grass, half dazed, watching
a fly on the bright opposite side of a leaf,
its dark hairy silhouette emblazoned
by a sun — 93 million miles away.
By the time I remember this, the fly's gone.

At the meadow's edge, a dead pine
has stayed caught in its fall by one alive,
branches entangled, the last three years
at least. Anything looked at long enough
becomes perfect. Three years is long enough.

Two dark soft fir stand across the meadow
from each other and this afternoon, this
moment, a small bird crosses from one
and lands in the other, sparks of singing
glittering in the middle of the air.

A butterfly passes, waggles away,
folds its wings thinly up and
disappears, a small door closing.
I wonder how many thousand others
are just now invisible in this meadow.

I remember now one other number,
watching illumination upon illumination:
at the speed of light, this shine is about
eight minutes old, though for earth it is
always a new time, and now the next one.

Robert King

There were tiny yellow and black-headed goldfinches in this
tree, each one no bigger than my pinky finger.

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