One summer night, walking from our house after dinner, stars make the sky almost white.
My awe is like blindness; wonder exchanges for sight.
Star-by-star comprises a multiplicity like thought, but quiet, too dense for any dark planet between.
While single stars are a feature of the horizon at dusk, caught at the edge of the net of gems.
Transparence hanging on its outer connectedness casts occurrence as accretion, filling in, of extravagant, euphoric blooming.
Then, being as spirit and in matter is known, here to there.
I go home and tell my children to come out and look.
The souls of my two children fly up like little birds into branches of the Milky Way,
chatting with each other, naming constellations, comparing crystals and fire.
They exclaim at similarities between what they see in the sky and on our land.
So, by wonder, they strengthen correspondence between sky and home.
Earth is made from this alchemy of all children, human and animal, combined
with our deep gratitude.
I see his dark shape, moving and shifting against night’s screen of stars.
My little girl reaches for his lighted silhouette.
Human beings are thought upward and flown through by bright birds.
We believe stars are spirits of very high frequency.
We feel proud our animals come from stars so dense in meaning close to sacrament.
We describe time passing in stories about animals; star movement is named for seasonal migrations of deer, wolf, hummingbird, dolphin, and as animals stars walk among us.
Our snake Olivia, for example, tells me there’s no conflict between humans and rain, because resource is all around us.
A coyote loved night, and he loved to gaze at the stars.
“I noticed one star in Cassiopeia; I talked to her, and each night she grew brighter and closer, and she came to life here, as a corn snake, my friend.”
“She looks like a dancer on tiptoe, stepping around pink star-blossoms surging up after rain.”
Constellations are experienced emotionally as this play of self through plant and animal symbols and values.
A dream atmosphere flows; everything represented is sacred; being moves in accord, not of time.
Returning from the Milky Way, she realized crystals had fallen from her bag and looked up.
My story links a journey to sky with the creation of stars, in which place accommodates becoming.
Chama River flows north-south to the horizon, then straight up through the Milky Way, like water moving beneath a riverbed that’s dry.
Abiquiu Mountain, El Rito Creek, coyote, snake, rainbow and rain, spider and hummingbird identify equivalent spiritual placements above, so wherever we go, there is company, nurture, from every star in our regard.
I start up to ask my birds to return home, and find our land continuous with a starry sky mapped as entities who set into motion occurrence, here.
Place awaits an imprint from this potential, even though starlight arriving now already happened; what happens is a depth of field, before and after drought, fire, storm disruption.
I move at high speed, but I’m still standing beside my house in the dark.
To go there, I find the place on our mesa that correlates to their tree in the sky and leap up.
Space stirs as star trilliums emerge through darkness like humus.
I ask one blossom to please in the future renew these bonds between sky and my children, so they will always hold light in the minerals of their eyes.
Sun on its nightly underground journey weaves a black thread between white days on the cosmic loom, cord or resonance between new experience and meaning.
The origin of stars expresses the underlying warp of this fabric; summer solstice draws a diagonal across my floor, precession, weaving ground of informing spirit, so therefore, life is fundamental to stars.
The reverse is well known.
That’s why I don’t use a telescope, star charts or glasses when I go out; I think of a place; I wait, then fly to my children.
When the star-gate is raised, there’s a narrow door between sky and ground.
But when I arrive, I find the sky solid; I can’t break through to visit my starbirds and stand there wondering, before dawn.
Then sky vault lifts; maybe I can slip through to find the Milky Way and see its blossoms.
Then our sun appears in the crack and pushes through to the day.
It’s so bright, so hot, I step back and cover my eyes; I hear my mother calling.
Copyright © 2020 by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 13, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“In ‘Wonder,’ I try to express the abundance of stars by comparing them to blossoming trees in an orchard. And then there is communication, travel, between celestial entities and beings on earth, especially my children.”
Date Published: 2020-04-13
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/wonder