Black And White

By Peter Halstead

Our meadow turns to black and white
Just before the dawn,
The dark sky lost to moonlit night
With stars (if dimly drawn),

The very air made visible by cold,
Bark turned white by frost,
An underworld of light controlled
By what the dark has lost—

The windless negative of sight
Which theoretically is night—

Darkened boughs turned white by snow,
But the opposite of day,
Whose brightly calorific glow
Molds wet boughs to gray,

Daylight's diminishing returns
Which make of tangled gloom
And labyrinthine caserns
Perfect vision's narrow room,

Deprived of any native ESP
Or cosmic pirouette,
Where the ability to see
Limits what you get:

The stroboscopic freeze
Of reality's striptease.

In the spread between the seams
Of more pragmatic sites
Lie the sleeper's deeper dreams
And the eyesight's subtler sleights,

A world framed by snowing nights
Before the blinding rush of day,
Where what happens in the lights,
Vision only takes away:

As if the earth at large must be
Slowed down so we can see.