What it must be like to be an angel or a squirrel, we can imagine sooner. The last time we go to bed good, they are there, lying about darkness. They dandle us once too often, these friends who become our enemies. Suddenly one day, their juniors are as old as we yearn to be. They get wrinkles where it is better smooth, odd coughs, and smells. It is grotesque how they go on loving us, we go on loving them The effrontery, barely imaginable, of having caused us. And of how. Their lives: surely we can do better than that. This goes on for a long time. Everything they do is wrong, and the worst thing, they all do it, is to die, taking with them the last explanation, how we came out of the wet sea or wherever they got us from, taking the last link of that chain with them. Father, mother, we cry, wrinkling, to our uncomprehending children and grandchildren.
William Meredith - 1919-2007
Going abruptly into a starry night It is ignorance we blink from, dark, unhoused; There is a gaze of animal delight Before the human vision. Then, aroused To nebulous danger, we may look for easy stars, Orion and the Dipper; but they are not ours, These learned fields. Dark and ignorant, Unable to see here what our forebears saw, We keep some fear of random firmament Vestigial in us. And we think, Ah, If I had lived then, when these stories were made up, I Could have found more likely pictures in haphazard sky. But this is not so. Indeed, we have proved fools When it comes to myths and images. A few Old bestiaries, pantheons and tools Translated to the heavens years ago— Scales and hunter, goat and horologe—are all That save us when, time and again, our systems fall. And what would we do, given a fresh sky And our dearth of image? Our fears, our few beliefs Do not have shapes. They are like that astral way We have called milky, vague stars and star-reefs That were shapeless even to the fecund eye of myth— Surely these are no forms to start a zodiac with. To keep the sky free of luxurious shapes Is an occupation for most of us, the mind Free of luxurious thoughts. If we choose to escape, What venial constellations will unwind Around a point of light, and then cannot be found Another night or by another man or from other ground. As for me, I would find faces there, Or perhaps one face I have long taken for guide; Far-fetched, maybe, like Cygnus, but as fair, And a constellation anyone could read Once it was pointed out; an enlightenment of night, The way the pronoun you will turn dark verses bright.