Before the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn
December 21, 2020
Bright as stars
the distant friends
across the sky,
by slow degrees,
as if centuries
of wandering alone
through empty space
have made them shy
to meet again.
The moon conceals
a knowing smile
to see them
a cloudless view,
the tiny lights align—
this, we pray,
a great celestial sign
that one day soon
we will reunite
so far away,
in separate orbits.
Play notes: I drafted this in December around the time of the Great Conjunction. Due to atmospheric conditions where I live, I couldn't see it. Hope you did!
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for my father
The night before you died
I dreamed a wooden ladder
rose straight into the sky,
propped against only a wall of air
yet sturdy on its feet, like you
in that faded old photo, tall and lean,
knee-high in a field of ripening beans.
I wasn’t with you at the end
but I know that when you left your bed
you mounted that ladder, young again,
body light and nimble, clambering up
the rungs worn smooth by shoes
and stained from use like wooden spoons.
After a few uncertain steps,
your long legs took them two at a time,
a rapturous climb to glory,
up past the crowns of maples and oaks,
up past the tops of barns and silos,
up past the soaring vultures and hawks,
up through the thin cool veil of clouds.
Now and then on your way to the stars
I see you pause upon that ladder,
look down from the heavens,
not to gauge how far you’ve come
but to gaze with love on what you loved.
Play notes: My father, Lynn Allen Cole, died of COVID-19 on January 3, 2021. I started this poem the next day, based on a dream I had the night before he passed. (Dad, I know you didn't much like poetry unless it had to do with farming. Maybe you can tolerate this one?)
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