A clock is watched in expectation but stars are watched
to see what’s been; not till, past. In the pauses between
sleep cycles they,
in their dogged runs, lull us into assuming that
today’s experience is tomorrow’s promise.
Which is what I’m doing now, watching remembered morning
turn the redbud suckers thin and bright as crazes in glass,
anticipating morning while night lasts, which is what night does, a sightless day for our kind anyway.
– Matt Thomas
This is a beautiful extract from Matt’s poem ‘Atlas’ which is a poem about an individual’s thoughts when looking up at the night sky. I enjoyed these stanzas in particular because of their meditation on the stars as markers of time, but specifically time which has passed given the extreme difference in time zone between earth and any star in a given moment. The poem is full of beautiful metaphors, such as the night as a ‘sightless day’, which help readers to re-experience night-time anew. Having often sat by my own window looking out at the stars, unable to fall asleep as a child, this poem particularly resonated with me, and made me think of all the times I have had similar reflections on the way we anticipate morning during the night, forgetting that night is in itself a ‘sightless day’, a valid period of time worthy of thought.
The poet also considers the way small things make us think of ourselves as large, and probes the irony of this in that the size of something depends entirely on how close it is. Stars are of course much larger than us, but their distance from us makes them appear tiny in the night sky. The philosophical and meditative mood of this poem is relaxing and thought-provoking.
The structure utilised is also intriguing given the enjambement which occurs between stanzas. This creates a powerful sense of continuity and plays into the theme of time which is so prominent within the poem. Readers get a sense of time passing slowly, but consistently. The long lines of the poem add to its sleepy feel which suits the night-time setting of its content.
Overall, this poem was extremely skillful in its exploration of the stars, and I hope to welcome many more poems like this to the verse section of the magazine in the future.
Amber Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief
Original feature image by Eberhard Grossgasteiger; retrieved from Pexels.com.