Just Before Sunset in December

It must have something to do with the angle of the earth

as it turns away from the sun in late fall in New England

when just after four the temperature drops

and the light shoots straight from the hip of the horizon

striking maples, elms, birches and oaks

whose leaves curl up on the ground, dry and lifeless,

while the sun flashes yellow through the trees

as if to say, slow down, look both ways.

 

This must be what the Impressionists were after

afternoons in Brittany when the tide was out

and the long flat sand pinned the light in crystals,

the water a host of concave mirrors–

buoyant with the promise of art.

 

While here and now this stark luminosity,

coolly transparent, is oddly uplifting

as it streaks red across the sky

and singes the clouds orange.

 

Yeats said, in balance with this life, this death.

Maybe that’s why we are given this gift of light

or maybe we just see it that way

as a reason for pausing, however briefly,

grateful to be alive.

 

 

 

Ed Meek’s work appears in The Sun, The Paris Review, and North Dakota Quarterly. His new book, Spy Pond, came out last May with Prolific Press.

Issue #56 March 2016 template
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