Les Étoiles

by Albert Haley
(published in Poems & Plays, Spring/Summer 2002)

We would do well to write more
poems about stars.

Let’s set the whole population of earth
to the task

and make it the effort of decades. 
For when six billion

of us have flung enough words in lines
and trim stanzas

at the dark canopy speckled with impossibly
distant lights,

I mean enough that the sum of our syllables
equals every twinkling point,

well then, we will have described
how one feels

standing in a field at the deep hour, head hinged
back like an old oil lamp

due for a cleaning and removal of soot,
and the night sky, the night sky,

the chains and jewels and constellations
and the emphatic loners

and the streaking, fallen ones, all there,
unfiltered and open to view. 

After that we will walk down streets
with sparks on our tongues,

fire in our fingertips, and as we greet
one another

the day will begin again to shine
somewhat brightly.

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