by Heather McHugh
of Ursus Major, is
the Milky Way:
a man can point it out,
the biggest billionfold of all
predicaments he's in:
his planet's street address.
What gives? What looks
a stripe a hundred million
miles away from here
is where we live.
Let's keep it clear. The Northern Lights
are not the North Star. Being but
a blur, they cannot reassure us.
They keep moving - I think far
too easily. September spills
some glimmers of
the boreals to come:
they're modest pools
of horizontal haze, where later
they'll appear as foldings in the vertical,
a work of curtains, throbbing dim
or bright. (One wonders at
one's eyes.) The very sight
will angle off in glances or in shoots
of something brilliant, something
bigger than we know, its hints uncatchable
in shifts of mind ... So there
it is again, the mind, with its
old bluster, its self-centered
is dimming, what is bright?
The spirit sinks and swells, which cannot tell
itself from any little luster.