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  • By Sarah Spivey

Aoibh’s Children & Contrary Silence

Aoibh’s Children in Expectation


There is a swan-crossed sea

   where exiles flew to die,

where grey waves wash the greyer shore

   in ponderous lullaby.


An old king’s children cry

   their swan tears to the sea,

wandering on their wasted shore

   through long eternity,


for they cannot restore

   their ruptured dignity,

but stretch their savaged wings toward sky,

   above the swan-crossed sea.

Contrary Silence

I am awake within the night,

   and quiet is rendered loud

   under the vast star-crowd.

Hovering, they hum. Though lightning-bright

   they seem small, like a word

   forgotten or unheard.

I see them dance as they ignite.


They echo a beginning thought,

   and I search for my ears

   to hear while music spheres

the earth, until I think I’ve caught

   a bit of melody.

   It slips, eluding me

with words whose meaning I’ve forgot.


For what do I know of this sky?

   Far older than all sight

   these stars converge their light

upon a planet’s moment, high

   and far from me, and stark

   on the void. But in the dark

a whip-poor-will begins his cry.


He laughs. Perhaps I understand

   why he should look above

   and sing something of love

to the night. Primordial command

   disturbs his heart to sing

   with stars, and everything

which knows an orchestrating hand.


As must we, who trace words and tales

   between the lines of stars.

   They tide their reservoirs

of harmony where hearing fails,

   but some whispering spills

   through stars and whip-poor-wills.

In starlight old belief prevails.


Brightly they sing, though not for me,

   and I may know their songs

   are true, that truth belongs

in such laughing solemnity.

   You rupture darkness, friends;

   with you, my soul ascends

the night’s shores toward eternity.

Sarah Spivey is an MFA student with the University of St. Thomas and teaches rhetoric at a classical Christian school in Oklahoma City.

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