Tired of earth, they dwindled on their hill, Watching and waiting in the moonlight until The aspens' leaves quite suddenly grew still, No longer quaking as the disc descended, That glowing wheel of lights whose coming ended All waiting and watching. When it landed The ones within it one by one came forth, Stalking out awkwardly upon the earth, And those who watched them were confirmed in faith: Mysterious voyagers from outer space, Attenuated, golden—shreds of lace Spun into seeds of the sunflower's spinning face— Light was their speech, spanning mind to mind: We come here not believing what we find— Can it be your desire to leave behind The earth, which even those called angels bless, Exchanging amplitude for emptiness? And in a single voice they answered Yes, Discord of human melodies all blent To the unearthly harmony of their assent. Come then, the Strangers said, and those who were taken, went.
Charles Martin - 1942-
Happy Ending for the Lost Children
One of their picture books would no doubt show The two lost children wandering in a maze Of anthropomorphic tree limbs: the familiar crow Swoops down upon the trail they leave of corn, Tolerant of the error of their ways. Hand in hand they stumble onto the story, Brighteyed with beginnings of fever, scared Half to death, yet never for a moment Doubting the outcome that had been prepared Long in advance: Girl saves brother from oven, Appalling witch dies in appropriate torment; Her hoarded treasure buys them their parents' love. * * * "As happy an ending as any fable Can provide," squawks the crow, who had expected more: Delicate morsels from the witch's table. It's an old story—in the modern version The random children fall to random terror. You see it nightly on the television: Cameras focus on the lopeared bear Beside the plastic ukulele, shattered In a fit of rage—the lost children are Found in the first place we now think to look: Under the fallen leaves, under the scattered Pages of a lost children's picture book. * * * But if we leave terror waiting in the rain For the wrong bus, or if we have terror find, At the very last moment the right train, Only to get off at the wrong station— If we for once imagine a happy ending, Which is, as always, a continuation, It's because the happy ending's a necessity, It isn't just a sentimental ploy" Without the happy ending there would be No one to tell the story to but the witch, And the story is clearly meant for the girl and boy Just now about to step into her kitchen.