Not Just Another Starry Night
After a seemingly ceaseless bus ride barreling down empty asphalt,
hints of silver light on a ragged eastern horizon,
piercing the coal dark of a cold winter night
in the bowls of a crater called Ramon.
Slowly slivers of glittering gold invade the cloak of sleeping desert.
Suddenly a fully exposed orb of blinding fire illuminates our still slumbering
bodies, aching and tired, hunched up against the bone-wracking chill that always
precedes the welcomed warmth accompanying the sun's dawning.
Our souls struggle to greet this new day and grasp this chance
to better understand what drives us in our search for meaning.
The sky fades into a clean, pristine Carolina blue, punctuated by cotton ball
puffs floating above the rugged moonscape that envelopes us. Bright
ochre yellow and matte beige compete with iron-rich red, dull
black and muddy brown. We embark on our journey, hike,
stumble, climb and claw, breathless by the time we crawl
to the summit of a rampart, only leading us further down
along paths of jagged-edged rocks and stones and pebbles that tear
at our poorly-prepared footwear and sleep-deprived patience, down
into the barren belly of this collapsed dome, where we sit to consider
who we are, or strive to be .
Endless trekking brings us to nightfall and a campsite clutter
of pup tents, foam mattresses and cooking paraphernalia
scattered on the sharp, inhospitable desert floor
inviting neither appetite nor respite from the
day's draining demands;
yet, the skies above, cloudless and crystal clear, celebrate the culmination
of our ordeal with fireworks of twinkling spots and slashes swirling in every direction.
The heavens are awake with a universe so wide and high and far away
that one cannot but wonder at this silent composition.
Just another starry night for those who dwell here.
But, for me a rush of awe and humility at my insignificant presence
in this mute concert. Does it really matter who I am, or want to be?
Is this how Van Gogh felt as he filled his canvas with twirling
white and yellow, green and blue, red and black, dwarfing
the dark foreground into irrelevance?
Robert (Bob) Findysz: Born in Chicago. Married with three grown children and nine grandchildren. Spent forty-some years teaching English to Israeli high school and university students, with periodic leaves-of-absence. Since retiring, after a lifetime of helping others write, now writing for himself.
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