The Observation Principle

By Peter Halstead

The light that leaves the woods,
That winds the leaves in wooden
Shade and lightens trees
With evening wind, leaves us too,

Us two leaning up against debris
Of last night's storm, wound
Lean and tight as roots around
The summer crop of fungus, glen,

And fern, bound like books
In apples' scent and spine-like stem:
Not that night in turn
Couldn't hold us still, hold us

Quiet in a pool of gilt,
Couldn't stem the tide
Of silence, jilt, and gloom
With these pointed sheets of lightning,

Staggered dots of ink-like rain, tense
As birdsong in our midst,
Growing as we fade away,
Theatrical foreshadowing

Of the inevitable conceit:
If a foot falls in the forest,
Who says we alone should
See it, we the eye of all

Creation, with inalienable rights
To leave a thing alone
Or let it lie the way it fell?
We get it backwards in the night:

The blind night never leaves us
Stripped of feelings, touch, or sight;
The pure light never leaves us
Quite as much as we leave light.