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.
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.