Thursday, December 11, 2008


What explanation is given for the phosphorous light
That you, as a boy, went out to catch
When summer dusk turned to night?
You caught the fireflies, put them in a jar,
Careful to let some air,
Then you fed them dandelions, unsure
Of what such small and fleeting things
Need, and when
Their light grew dim, you
Let them go.

There is no explanation for the fire
That burns in our bodies
Or the desire that grows, again and again,
So that we must move toward each other
In the dark.
We have no wings.
We are ordinary people, doing ordinary things.
The story can be told on rice paper.
There is a lantern, a mountain, whatever
We can remember.

Hiroshige's landscape is so soft.
What child, woman, would not want to go out
Into that dark, and be caught,
And caught again, by you?
I want these pictures of the floating world
To go on, but when
The light begins to dim, catch me.
Give me whatever a child imagines
to keep me aglow, then,
Let me go.

Siv Cedring

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