Stars at Night: a sestina

To look out at the stars at night
against a distant tapestry
of endless black, that seems to spread
beyond our fickle sense of time
and stretch the limits of our sense
to breaking, is to feed a dream.

No simple, selfish kind of dream –
the kind that wakes you in the night,
half-conscious, where you only sense
your astral footprints on the tapestry
like sand grains, swept by tides of time
into the ocean’s ancient spread;

nor nightmares through which are spread
vile creatures half-real and half-dream,
who live to devour all, in time;
dividing sunlit day from fearful night
with claws that rend that fragile tapestry
between unconscious fear and sense.

No, this dream gives to us the sense
that all of what we know, if spread
out on the floor, or hung as tapestry,
would seem as fleeting as a dream,
a single faint star on a full moon night,
a mere second in the endless hours of time.

The palimpsest we know as time,
the fickle moments with which we try to make sense
of what seem random shifts from day to night,
great gifts and curses wrapped and spread
like shiny baubles on a blackened velvet dream;
on our illusions hang life’s frail tapestry.

Yet mixed among the threads that weave our tapestry
are warp and woof from far beyond our time;
alone, under the stars, sometimes we dream
of ancestors and progeny, who sense
our presence, head back, legs and arms spread,
offering ourselves, and them, back to the night.

At the tapestry’s frayed edge, we sense
an end to time; and hopeful spread
this dream, in silent prayer, each starry night.

20 JUL 2005

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