A New Kind of Night Again

Two storms in two days
leave us a century, or millennia
before electricity. No light anywhere.
Clear water, black in the night, quiet slosh of waves

on the shore of the lake erase the much-too-present.
We dream-back the dark beginning again
before the advent of the primordial blessing,
the murk of renewal

forbidden the rot-free polyethylene
human system fed for a century or two
on eons of black residue.
We scour some residue from lamp chimneys, trim wicks,

almost, how to adjust for smokeless light.
We haul water up from the backbreaking lake,
the heartbreaking drought.

We endure the inconvenience of slow machinery,
utterly trustworthy pain in the modern neck
and we enjoy the reward of the push and pull of it.

A yellow flame flicker of oil lamps
casts a softer reality than bottled light from bulbs,
like death-freed ancestors winking back
from the flickered history of their shadows.

Breeze-borne swirl of radiance
ridicules our industrious apostasy from Life,
from Nature, from Spirits or Quanta,
abstract Imaginations we mold into gods.

In welcome ancient gloaming we read poems,
eyefilling sensuous messages,
carboniferous, Earth-born
in their pencil-parsimony of eyestrain glow.

We read a poem, a thatched house in China
maybe, and maybe think, feel,
move to a languid flow of soft paper,
and if a poem seems to fill mind and moment,

we can turn down the flame.
In that ancient light we share with poets,
we live out from the lines into the nurture,
the oneness of this reaffirming new night. In

the morning, light will return us
to the greasy reek of gasoline from the lake,
panic-scream of horsepower and a sense of nothing
left for the production of a worthy new day.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.