I wish I lived closer to Earth,
Sun, Moon, Stars:
All visible and invisible passions
That constitute what we call life.
Instead, I stand upon this porch,
Of evening sky, connecting
Jets to reflected pink,
The only message to eye
Light lives beyond,
Into nature’s order, assuring
Sun will come again,
Having never slept, somewhat
Lessened by the light spent.
This massive ball of fiery red
Transforms, burns itself
Each day into something new;
Inexorable decay at work,
Some great unraveling
Secretly underway, unknown
To us who know no better.
The surprise is this brilliant
Slowly failing sun which we find
A reassuring image of lasting time
Moves forward toward a future
Of certain violent death.
In intervening days
The permanence we bring to this sun:
Merely our hopeful state of mind.
Some say people are the sum
Of their illusions, that truth abides
Even in dying stars, whose meandering designs
Eventually teach wholeness, if
A human lifetime is sufficient to grasp
The lengthy measure known by stars alone.
In ordinary terms, we’re easily overwhelmed,
Overlooked, misunderstood by self
Inflated sense of insignificance.
Domestic notions of what it takes
For life to yield to death and death to life,
To leave, come home, leave, return again,
Take years so far beyond human scale
We lose the original trust
The world is something good.
We were born in ordinary time,
In ordinary rooms and beds.
In such ordinary times, rooms, beds
We shall die, for to mortal eye
It is not life but death, emptiness unknown
That encloses, flows in all directions.
This endless deadly ring runs the horizon—
Another way of saying
This sweep of life too small
To measure how long
Evening stars shine on.
The models we use to grasp Earth,
All other parts of the universe
Built upon our young experience
Has not God’s, but our image stamped upon it.
Now we learn
What sages said long ago:
Out of endless death and empty measure,
Arises life again transformed.
Like music moving slowly
Deep within endless mist,
Life succeeds, moves gently forward
Even where human life disappears—
Saying from grander vision
Where one world is erased
Another comes, newborn
To coalesce fragments
Into another world and time;
Endless ends, new beginnings—
New forms of resurrected love:
A new heaven; a new Earth.