There's a time when the angry daylight buzz,
The sharp tick of fingers on keyboards,
Hundreds of echoing pavement steps,
Stalling, starting motors, honks,
Shouts, alerts, staccato heartbeats,
Fade, fade, disappear in shadows and lights.
Not a silent night, no, a night alive
And filled with gentle sounds
Of washing up, or television laughter,
A pair of bundled walkers on the sidewalk,
Convoys of trucks far away,
Laden with products and presents.
Here the air fills noses with welcome, like
Roasted garlic and warm bread and chocolate chip cookies,
Drifting quietly beside the smell of clean laundry,
The cold honest scent of the earth,
A delicate wisp of perfume.
Listen longer, hear other sounds:
Harsh sounds, hurt sounds, crying, silence.
Look longer where the light is cold
In lonely rooms below, above, where the man,
The woman, the child takes up fist or bottle,
Shoots a slicing onslaught with abandon,
Or perhaps sits all alone,
See her at the darkened window,
Motionless panic, silent and frantic and drowning.
See him huddled against the brick,
Eyes down, only ragged arms,
Just these two arms against destruction
And so much hate.
A child will see and a child will hear.
I can help. Can't you help?
Through long years still a hummingbird heart
Feels the golden flame in every face,
The mark of God, dignity,
Aches for anyone outside the glow
Of a warm home with comfortable occupants
In comfortable silence and comfortable arguments
That end sometimes with every gut sore from laughter,
A sleepy peace in every woolly head
Brushing teeth, happy to dream.
Reflected fire in the dim sky fades.
Now let all drink oblivion.
Carry love and triumph, hope and fear
Into mist-wreathed holloways, beaches, and prairies,
Search time-forgotten paths behind the windows
Of the soul to find the lost word,
The lost song,
Until the search is spent
And fire is born again