Star Apocrypha Poem by Christopher Buckley

Star Apocrypha Poem by Christopher Buckley

Where stars are concerned, I am as enthusiastic
as the next one—those planets just forming

across the cosmic lot, the cold blue quasars finally
arriving after fifteen billion years,

one apparently as hopeful as the next. I think we all
came to live in this world so why

should the sea in its white glitter, fasting for the sun,
or the stutter in a line of clouds have us

thinking of death, the continuing resolution of the dark
that reads entirely across the sky? For exuberance

we have the shoal of stars, the command performance
and grand galactic archipelagoes, the sea foam

and abacus of stars. Yet all the time, finite by definition—
they have done the math. On a smaller scale,

I can no longer enjoy even a small espresso without
considering the atomic consequences—

arrhythmia, free radicals, and pancreatic dissolution, but
there are other examples—St. Catherine of Siena

living for years on nothing but the host of air, levitating
as purely as the stubborn light she was becoming.

Why then be on earth? Yet even I fly through the blue night
sometimes, in my astral body, light as the bread

she would not eat, and for a while there, above the palm trees
and cypresses, all things seem possible to a man,

who, though he knows his weight on earth, can, among his friends,
lift off the sidewalk, rise to the occasion of wind,

of his improbable dreaming soul, as it floats away, effortless
in its modesty, in his star-white shirt—and godwit

or sanderling, be as congenial, as satisfied to receive the sun
off the spume of waves, the gilded aura of thought

lifting from the star pine’s boughs, the small contributions
to the infinite panoply, the boundless savor of light….

The dove who arrives on my balcony, and paces the railing
in her flame-colored feet, is not a poetic truth,

but an earthly one who stands for her grey apprehensive self,
dark unmetaphorical eye eyeing me

before she flutters off into the half-mystical eucalyptus
that this morning is separating wind from wind

to no avail, and which, along with the doves, seems to
repeat the long Aramaic vowels of the Essenes

swirled through canyons of the Dead Sea, almost as old as sand.
I decipher nothing and, unlike them, I give up little,

and for lasting imperfection turn to the waves, as close to
the scroll of stars, as beyond time, as we’re going to get.

Today, what more shall we believe about ourselves? Half the time
the stars go missing. Eye of the dove, dark as the unlocked

heart of space, there must be something else….Starry needles
just sew and unsew the dark so that the days return—

how long has the sky been waiting for all of this to arrive?
All we are is respiration—no distance and little wind,

a verse which could quit any time—et cum spiritu tuo—
the last breath gone out with the wild idea of us.

Christopher Buckley
from Star Apocrypha

Star Apocrypha Poem by Christopher Buckley

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