mapping the sky

I want to sit at a kitchen table all night
and write terms for the sky :
canyons and mountains and
memorial paths. I want to not want to
read my poems aloud
and have gentlemen persuade me,
with a smile, otherwise.

And when they ask me about myself
I know the answer. Something
low and north-westerly, where the clouds make
dreaming valleys, furrowed with sunset –
the Gloaming Vale, or the last ditch before ocean,
not at all prosaic – although
truth is, I've long since given up and been prosaic,
like everything else untethered :
rising straight into the ozone.

from The Memory of Light

Here in the land of summer and storms, I think often of how I miss trees, treeshadows, the smell of dirt and root-cracked earth; I miss the hills and the woodland paths. But it's equally true that I miss the landscapes of my home sky. The cold texture of its clouds. The weight of soil-stories and fungi-songs in its wind. The brittle, old-boned, cronish moon. Here, the moon is lush with water and heavy weedy magic. I love it, I really do. But I also feel safe with it. I miss a more wily moon that doesn't see me as fragile.

Used to be, I could hold up my hand to the sky and note its paths through my fingers, the way the ancient navigators did, coming south over wild oceans towards a dream of mountains and forest. I would know where to go by the look of the sunlight, the feel of the wind. I understood its language. Now, I stand on my back stairs and listen for it.

And still it sings the ancient smoky hymns of the barefoot god, the wishmonger, the old woman who is hills and exudes stars that the god catches and spins into sunrises for her. And still I am its child. Even from the other side of the heavens.