Thursday, September 26, 2019

Day and Night, Half and Half

Fall Equinox ‘19

a curve of Moon rides high above me in the pre-dawn,
one satellite slips to the east,
near it another slips to the north,
the air is cool but more appetizer than promise,
as the 80s will ride the afternoon,

in the garden yellow tomatoes endure,

as do the Kentucky Wonder pole beans,

Native pumpkins, like peachy tan Easter eggs,
hide among their ever-diminishing leafy vines,

most of the basil has given up the ghost,

but the okra still offers tender pods each day,

Summer has been long, hot, and dry,
the tropics keep spawning storm after storm,
fed by the too-hot salt water beneath them,
and, for now, the capricious airs above us
hold them at bay, and mid-ocean,

the climate is changing, and not for the better,
the Equinox should be a time of balance,
with day and night, half and half,
that is still true,
this year, though, 
half the people demand we deal with our problems
and half the people deny there are problems,
despite rising oceans and epic storms,

winter reaches toward us but can’t yet get here,
just as common sense can touch us but not rule many,
the dogwood leaves seem to feel winter coming,

and start shifting away from green,
our red maple is even more prescient and forgets color
as it prematurely drops its leaves,

I have the half-chocolate, half-vanilla cookies at the ready,
but even I, who created the Sol Pole,
almost forgot to celebrate the Equinox at celestial noon,

I am reminded of it all by the artist on our staff,
and we chant:
“Equi, Equi, Equinox,
Day and night, half and half,”
then eat our cookies,
and quickly return to routine,

how like where we are as a culture:
momentous realities cascade upon us,
and the moments of our individuality
eclipse the collective truth
that we cannot quite deal with,

one of my students writes of an upcoming birthday party,
which draws her more than an “existential crisis,”

the celestial universe, the dance of Earth and Sun,
insists there is balance,
while our human world 
denies any truth that isn’t comfortable.

by Henry H. Walker
September 23, ‘19

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